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Press Releases

December 16, 2016
Survey Program Results: No Boll Weevils in Virginia
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) recently completed the 2016 cotton boll weevil survey and detected no weevils in Virginia. The destructive pest was first detected in the state in 1922.

By the 1960s, the weevil had decimated American cotton. Mississippi began the first eradication program in 1971 with mixed success. In 1977 Virginia and North Carolina began an eradication program that was highly successful, moving gradually from those states across the Cotton Belt.

Cotton experienced a renaissance in the ensuing years and by the early 1990s, Virginia farmers planted enough acres in cotton to support several cotton gins in the southeastern part of the state, including one on the Eastern Shore. Currently Virginia has gins in Emporia, Southampton, Suffolk and Windsor.

VDACS oversees a monitoring program to ensure that the weevil does not reappear. This year, the agency installed 960 traps on an estimated 71,500 acres of cotton in Virginia and did not detect a single weevil. All cotton growers pay a per acre fee to fund the survey program.

Virginia is the northern-most cotton growing state in the U.S. In 2014, cotton was the 13th largest agricultural commodity in Virginia with farm cash receipts of $72 million. Cottonseed, a by-product used in animal feed, was the 19th largest commodity with receipts of $11 million.

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