Area Farmers Continue The Cotton Struggle - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/29/02

Area Farmers Continue The Cotton Struggle

Eric Bickerstaff has an unpredictable job. Today he's tending to his field of future t-shirts, socks, and jeans. "It's kind of hard to survive anymore, it's just kind of a year by year basis which makes it kind of scary," says Bickerstaff. He's been a cotton farmer his entire life. Even though the south plains cotton crop is the best it's been in years. Eric says it's the price that counts.

"With the price of expenses so high and the price of our commodity so low, we can hardly make it pan out," he says. Low cotton prices have forced some of Eric's friends out of the business, but he is hanging on. Right now, the price of Eric's cotton could run between 45 and 52 cents a pound in the loan rate, and that's barely enough to buy a coke. "It needs to be about 72 to 75 cents just to help us break even, it would take a lot more than that to get us to make any money."

Eric says Wednesday night's rain would have made a tremendous difference three weeks ago. But the 8/10ths will only allow them to hold on to what they've got. "When it's 98 degrees next week, 8/10 isn't going to last very long, it's going to evaporate, but every little bit helps." Eric says the recent farm bill may bring help for the low cotton prices, but for now he looks forward to the day when cotton farmers can make their own way again.

In a meeting on Wednesday, Lubbock county farmers were told they can expect more than $42-million from the government.

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