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Is cotton truly the fabric of our lives in Louisiana? After reading this, we're not so sure!

For as long as I can remember, I've always thought that cotton and Louisiana were pretty much synonymous as far as agriculture goes. Growing up, I loved seeing the cotton fields along Airline Drive at Wemple Road in Bossier. Around picking time you'd always see little fluffs of cotton on the breeze. You could say that for pretty much any part of Louisiana, like on LA 1 north of downtown Shreveport. Heck, LSU Shreveport used to be surrounded by cotton and soybean fields. So what gives?

Is It Really Illegal to Grow Cotton in Louisiana?

Believe it or not, it's illegal to grow cotton in Louisiana if you haven't obtained permission first. On top of that, you must kill any cotton one might grow by December 31st each year. Want to find out more? Refer to Louisiana R.S. 3:1607 which states, 'Every person growing cotton in the state shall furnish to the commissioner, on forms specified by the commissioner, such information as the commissioner may require concerning the size and location of all commercial cotton fields and of noncommercial patches of cotton grown as ornamentals or grown for any other purposes.'

In short, you have to notify the state before you ever plant a single cotton seed and tell them who, where, and how much cotton you plan to grow. Then the state may or may not give you permission and they insist that you destroy cotton your crop before December 31st. Why? Because of a nasty little critter called a boll weevil! Check out Louisiana R.S. 1606 and Section XV-323.

§1606.  Entry of premises; eradication activities; inspections

A.  The commissioner may enter cotton fields, cotton processing facilities, any means of conveyance within this state, and any other property or premises, other than dwellings, to inspect for boll weevil infestations, to examine and copy records, and to carry out suppression or eradication activities, including but not limited to treatment with pesticides, sampling, monitoring, and destruction of growing cotton or other host plants, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Part.

B.  In circumstances not covered by Subsection A of this Section, the commissioner may apply to the district court for the parish in which the entry is to occur for a warrant or warrants authorizing the right of entry to any dwelling for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Section or other activities authorized by this Part.

C.  The commissioner may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of records or things anywhere in the state at a deposition or at a hearing before the commission for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Part.

Section XV-323 - Program Participation

A. All cotton producers growing cotton in Louisiana shall participate in the boll weevil eradication program in accordance with the Louisiana boll weevil eradication law and these regulations.
B. Cotton producers shall destroy cotton stalks in every field planted in cotton, on or before December 31 of each crop year. Cotton stalk destruction shall consist of shredding or disking in a manner that destroys standing cotton stalks. Cotton stalks that come up in a failed field must also be destroyed by December 31 of the crop year. Failure to destroy stalks by December 31 of each crop year shall be a violation of this Chapter.
La. Admin. Code tit. 7, § XV-323

If you want to read more about what you can and can't do with regard to growing cotton and the eradication of boll weevils in the state of Louisiana, we've linked all of the legal jargon for you to peruse here.

Kind of mind-blowing, right? But then again, it's also illegal to snore in Louisiana unless all of your bedroom windows are closed and securely locked!

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