To help bring their organic cotton to fruition, the farmers Parrish and Watson hired Mary Wilks, a certified crop consultant who was already working with them on other organic crops, including sweet potatoes, soybeans, tobacco, figs, blackberries and butterbeans.
Due to a late frost this past fall, the organic cotton plants shed their leaves uniformly and cleanly, says Wilks
says weeds were the biggest obstacles they faced last year.
In spite of the challenges, 77 percent of the fiber grown was usable, and the quality was above average among cotton graded in the Southeast, she
Organic cotton prices for the U.S. crop in 2011 were 50 to 60 percent higher than non-organic prices, says Wilks
"The profit margin for organic cotton at this time is not as high as some other organic crops like vegetables," says Wilks
"However, it is a good crop to add to the rotation, and North Carolina buyers have said they want more of our product.
For now, Parrish and Watson are sticking with it?-?they sowed 45 acres for the current season, says Wilks