Did you know that U.S. paper money is actually made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen? Or that one bale of cotton can make 249 bed sheets? Cotton is used more than any other fiber in the world, making it the United State’s leading cash crop.
From seeds to equipment, each year cotton production stimulates business not only for the farmer, but also for factories that produce the thread to business organizations across the country. Following production, cotton needs to be transported and processed, further stimulating business and helping the U.S. economy.
Where Cotton is Grown:
The Growth Process:
Cotton is planted in the spring, when temperatures reach around 60 degrees, and grows best in fertile, well-drained soil. It takes about six to eight weeks, depending on the weather, after planting for the bloom to appear. The plants are irrigated, fertilized and weeded throughout the growing process then the bloom falls off and a mature cotton boll develops. This is the white fluffy part that most people think of when they think cotton. Cotton is harvested, compressed and sent to gins where they separate the fibers from the seeds. The fibers are baled, purchased by mills then spun into thread.
Once cotton has been spun into thread it is either exported or sent to U.S. textile mills for production. Approximately 3.6 million bales of cotton are processed by U.S. mills each year. From here, your clothing, money, baseballs, and more are made. This is why cotton production is not only important for our country’s economy, but for consumers as well. We wouldn’t be able to get dressed in the morning or pay for our cup of coffee without it.
Sources: Cotton Council International and National Cotton Council of America