Bug off: Tennessee cotton farmers keep boll weevil program

Friday, April 5, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 14

NASHVILLE (AP) — Cotton producers in Tennessee have decided to continue a program that prevents the destructive boll weevil insect from reintroduction in the state.

Tennessee agriculture officials say cotton producers have voted in a statewide referendum to continue to fund the Boll Weevil Eradication Program.

According to a news release from the state agriculture department, the boll weevil program started in Tennessee in 1994. The program allows cotton producers to team with other states to spray, trap, and conduct surveillance for controlling boll weevils.

Tennessee was officially eradicated of the boll weevil in 2009. The insect eats cotton plants.

Officials say that cotton insecticide use has been reduced 40 to 90 percent and yields have significantly increased since the beginning of the program.