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Plant Industry Services

Cotton Boll Weevil Eradication and Quarantine

Administration and enforcement of the provisions of the Cotton Boll Weevil Quarantine are important and necessary to protect and enhance Virginia's resurgent cotton industry in addition to protecting the quality of the environment in the cotton producing area. The regulation: (1) Restricts the movement of regulated articles, such as, seed cotton, gin trash, and used cotton harvesting equipment, to prevent the reintroduction of the boll weevil into Virginia and other non-infested states by the use of inspections, certificates, permits, compliance agreements, and treatments, if necessary; (2) Requires all cotton farm operators in Virginia to participate in the eradication program, which includes reporting of acreage planted in cotton and field locations, compliance with all cotton boll weevil regulations, and payment of per-acre fees to support the trapping of all cotton fields; and (3) Prohibits non-commercial cotton from being planted in Virginia unless the grower applies for and receives an exemption to grow cotton.

The eradication of the cotton boll weevil and the enforcement of the quarantine, which ensures that the boll weevil does not re-infest Virginia, provide an alternate crop that enhances the economic conditions for growers in eastern and southern Virginia. The benefit of the eradication and continued exclusion of the boll weevil has been estimated by researchers at N.C. State University at approximately $75.00 per acre per year in increased land values, increased cotton yields, and reduced pesticide use. Since the eradication of the boll weevil in Virginia, the acreage planted in cotton has increased from approximately 300 acres in 1978 to over 115,000 acres in 2011.

The Cotton Boll Weevil Eradication Program consists of monitoring cotton fields and treatment if boll weevils are found. Trapping is conducted by private contractors awarded through the state bidding process. VDACS provides oversight of the contractors' work to ensure that program standards are met.

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