AUSTIN – Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today announced an update to the status in the fight against boll weevils in Texas. Commissioner Miller is excited to report the West Texas Maintenance Area has been declared eradicated, and the Northern Backlands, Southern Backlands, Upper Coastal Bend and South Texas Winter Garden zones have been deemed functionally eradicated. Texas ranks No. 1 nationally for cotton production, and this announcement comes as a milestone in the efforts to eliminate the boll weevil from Texas.
“Historically, the boll weevil has been the most costly pest to our cotton producers, and the destruction these pests cause has resulted in millions of dollars lost to the Texas economy,” Commissioner Miller said. “I sincerely congratulate and honor the Texas cotton industry, the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation and Texas cotton farmers on this monumental success. We will continue to support efforts to eradicate boll weevils from the state entirely.”
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), in collaboration with the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation (TBWEF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), assists cotton farmers in increasing efficiencies, eliminating duplication of efforts and streamlining the process of cotton stalk destruction — all of which work to eradicate boll weevils from Texas’ cotton crop. Prior to the eradication efforts, boll weevils caused an estimated $200 million in losses per year to Texas farmers. Since 1996, the cumulative benefits of the eradication program have reached nearly $3 billion.
Parts of Texas bordering with Mexico continue to battle the boll weevil, where the effects of border violence and funding hardships for Mexico’s eradication programs create challenges in the much-needed progress towards eradication. The continued collaborative efforts of industry leaders, farmers, TBWEF, USDA and TDA are key to future successes in these areas.
For more information about the TBWEF and the boll weevil eradication program, visit www.txbollweevil.org.