Cotton in all of its stages of growth. Photo Credits: Judy Ludlow, Calhoun County Extension

by Jennifer Bearden, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

You probably can’t go a day without touching cotton or a cotton by-product. Especially here in Okaloosa County.

In 2012, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 5,960 bales of cotton were produced in Okaloosa.

Each bale weighs about 480 pounds–hat’s enough cotton to make over 1.28 million pairs of jeans or over 7.25 million T-shirts.

An added benefit of cotton is the beautiful flowers it produces. These flowers attract native pollinators and honey bees. Cotton honey is said to have a buttery flavor with a definite tang.

Here are more facts about cotton:

  • Cotton is produced in 17 states called the Cotton Belt, which stretches across the Southern U.S. from Virginia to California.
  • About 30 percent of our cotton is exported.
  • Each cotton plant produces lint and seed.
  • The lint is used to make fabrics, fishnets, coffee filters, and tents among other things.
  • Cottonseed is separated into oil, meal and hulls. The oil is used in cooking and meal and hulls are used as livestock, poultry and fish feed.
  • Cotton’s total economic value in the U.S. exceeds $120 billion.
  • Cotton will be harvested in the early fall in Okaloosa County. You can see the big bales of cotton sitting in the field in North Okaloosa county.
  • Just remember: Each bale can make 215 pairs of jeans or 1,217 T-shirts, or even 313,600 $100 bills.
  • Cotton is important to our county, our country and our world!
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