Since moving to Mississippi two and a half years ago, I have wanted to photograph the cotton fields. However, whenever I came across one, it was either not in bloom, or already harvested. This past fall, I was finally in the right place at the right time!
History of Cotton in Mississippi
If slavery was the corner stone of the Confederacy, cotton was its foundation. At home its social and economic institutions rested upon cotton; abroad its diplomacy centered around the well-known dependence of Europe…upon an uninterrupted supply of cotton from the southern states – a quote from US historian Frank L. Owsley Jr.
During the Civil War years, Americas leading export was cotton. At that time, the Southern United States produced almost all of the world’s cotton supply, with Mississippi being the nation’s largest cotton-producing state. At present Mississippi ranks third behind Texas and Georgia, according to 2016 statistics.
Today cotton farming is on the decline. This decrease is driven by falling prices. Many farmers are now finding it costs them more to grow cotton than they can earn. The decline is also due to lower consumption, as fibers such as polyester and nylon are becoming more prevalent.