Tag Archives: cotton facts

About California Cotton

California cotton is a big industry for the state. Cotton production in accounts for roughly $3.5 billion dollars annually pumped into California’s economy. Over 20,000 people are employed directly in the production of cotton. Approximately 137,000 additional jobs are created indirectly as a result of the California cotton industry.

Cotton is grown in California in three main regions including the San Joaquin Valley, Southern Desert Valleys and the Sacramento Valley. The San Joaquin Valley is the primary cotton growing spot, featuring seven counties which are major cotton producers. Fresno County is the number one cotton growing county in California.

California offers a wonderful climate that is near ideal for optimum cotton growth. The warm sun is plentiful during much of the year in California which affords cotton the long growing season it needs. The soil in certain regions of California is fertile, well draining, yet can still hold water well, making it ideal for cotton. The dry California climate is perfect for growing cottons like Pima.

At its peak, California featured 1.5 million acres of cotton farmland. California cotton growing has been on the decline. In California, cotton crops are being replaced by pistachios, almonds, walnuts, grapes, alfalfa, and corn crops instead. California cotton is still the state’s second most valuable crop.

Of those growers who still plant cotton, many have been electing to grow extra-long staple crops of Pima cotton, as it is in high demand and can command premiums prices per pound. In fact, California is the largest Pima cotton growing area in the United States.
As a result, California grows much of the best cotton in the world.

Currently there are around 60 active cotton gins remaining in California.,1963 was the peak year with 299 active cotton gins in California. While the numbers do reflect a decline, each gin also becomes more efficient and more productive as time goes on.

California produces approximately 2 to 2.5 million bales of cotton per year. There are about 1400 farms growing cotton in California on an average of 500 acres per farm. California is frequently the second highest producing state yearly. California cotton makes up about 10 to 14 percent of cotton production nationally in the United States. The yields of California cotton are extremely impressive as compared to a national average of 615 pounds of cotton per planted acre. California farms produce 1300 pounds per acre.

Cotton is an annual crop in California, being planted anew each spring. California cotton is typically planted beginning in March and completed by May 1st. California cotton is fully irrigated and is picked by machines. The majority, approximately 80 to 85 percent of California cotton will be shipped overseas to Southeast Asia.

Many types of products are made from the processed cotton that is produced in California. Typical products include dresses, high quality shirts and premium quality bedding. California’s Pima cottons are used for very fine, luxury fabrics. 600,000 tons of cottonseeds, a crop byproduct, are produced each year in California. 95% of this California cottonseed is fed to cattle. The rest is made into cottonseed oil.

10 Interesting Facts about Cotton and T-Shirts – The Good and Bad

Cotton is a fiber that grows around the seeds of a cotton plant. The plant is native shrub to subtropical regions including India and Africa. Cotton is the most widely used fiber for clothing in the world and provides thousands of useful products such as towels, robes, bed sheets, demin, and of course dozens of other types of clothing including t-shirts.

Below are some interesting (the good and the bad) facts about cotton.

1. Cotton has been grown for 6,000 years.

2. Cotton accounts for about 40 percent of total world fiber production.

3. There are 35,000 cotton farms in the U.S. and 98% percent of cotton is grown in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. However, the United States is not the number one producer of cotton. . The top five cotton producing countries are China, India, United States, Pakistan and Brazil as number five.

4. U.S. textile mills spin almost 10 million bales a year. One bale of cotton is enough to make 1,217 men’s T-shirts

5. Cotton is a pesticide-intensive crop and uses almost 25% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of the world’s pesticides.

6. Fiber for one cotton T-shirt requires 256.6 gallons of water.

7. U.S. farmers receive a $230 subsidy for every acre of cotton. The percent given to cotton growers is five times what farmers receive for cereal crops. This let to 68% of U.S. cotton was exported at prices below production costs. In 2005, The World Trade Organization (WTO) declared that the U.S. farm subsidies were illegal. The WTO argued that the U.S. cotton subsidies distorted global markets that did not save small U.S. farmers and it resulted in environmental damage.

8. There is a 50%+ difference is yields between conventional and organic cotton production. In 2001 was 790 kg per ha for conventional and only 468 kg per ha for organic cotton. (Source: )

9. The U.S. cotton industry accounts for more than $25 billion in products and services annually.

10. Cotton creates over 400,000 jobs in the United States.

Sources: CCGGA, PBS, WIkipedia, ICAC.org