Boll Weevil Lawsuit Delayed Til' February

November 30, 2003 - Posted at 4:55 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - A hearing in a lawsuit brought by Mississippi and Craighead County cotton farmers has been moved to February 2.

The farmers' attorney, Allen Gates, says the hearing date in November was changed to allow him to notify all the possible farmers who could be affected by the lawsuit.  Gates is seeking class-action status.

Farmers in the two counties filed the lawsuit after they were forced to participate in a program to get rid of the boll weevil, a pest that damages cotton crops.  The farmers had voted against the program five times, but the Arkansas Plant Board used a law passed in 1917 to control pests in abandoned orchards to force the farmers' participation.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)