Cotton acreage decline hits cotton gins hard

Published 2:18 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn is here and the Mississippi Delta cotton gins are open for business. There’s only one thing missing: cotton.

Cotton acreage hit record lows this year as Mississippi farmers planted a total of 370,000 acres of cotton, down from 666,000 acres in 2007 and 1.2 million in 2006.

Now that harvest time has arrived, gins like the half-century-old Burdette Gin in Leland have had to slash their hours of operation and face closure. In years past, officials say the Burdette Gin has served 32 local farms. This year, only five farms have brought their cotton to Burdette.

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The gin will probably shut down at the end of this season because officials say most of the remaining customers have said they won’t be planting cotton next season.