Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - Branon Thiesse with the Craighead County Agriculture Extension Service estimates that 30 to 40 percent of farmers that historically grew cotton, grew a different crop last year. That number could change once again this year.
Thiesse said, "As of the last time that we talked to farmers, they were kind of up in the air still about what they were going to do. Their planning intentions and things like that because they're waiting to see what the price of those commodities are going to be."
In other words farmers will be looking at the differences between the crops.
Thiesse said, "They're comparing the price they can get for their cotton and their production costs of cotton as opposed to producing soybeans or corn."
Other than the price of seed there are many things farmers need to take a look at before changing to another crop.
Thiesse said, "How much fertilizer do you need, what is your insect problems that you're going to have to deal with, are there diseases. There are just a whole lot of things you have to evaluate before you make that decision."
Thiesse said that some farmers haven't stopped growing cotton completely, they're just rotating each year.
Thiesse said, "People are incorporating soybeans, corn or other crops into rotation with cotton which proves to be beneficial for the cotton crop as well as the other crops they're rotating with."
If the switch continues, there could be fewer jobs available.
Thiesse said, "Cotton has to go through additional processes to be put into bails to be sold. So that's where probably the jobs are being lost is there."