Cotton is grown across most of the American south. Cotton is primarily grown in dry tropical and subtropical climates at temperatures between 52°F and 77°F. It is a warm-climate crop and is threatened by temperatures above 77 degrees and below 40 degrees. Exposure to either excessive dryness or extreme moisture also threatens the plants. This can result in decreased quality, or even dead pants.
The Southeastern region of the United States includes the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The region generally has its last freeze earlier in the spring and its first freeze later in the fall than the more northern states. This longer growing season, coupled with relatively mild winters, allows all of these states to produce cotton. All the states in the Southeastern United States contain cotton fields.
The Southern Region
The Southern region of the United States includes the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Texas is the leading producer of cotton in the U.S. The close proximity of the Gulf of Mexico brings moisture to the region. The further inland one goes in the region, the drier it gets. The winters, however, bring mostly mild days and cool nights. As such, cotton is able to grow well in this climate. All of the states in the southern region contain cotton fields.
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The Southwestern region of the United States includes the states of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The weather in this region can be diverse and ranges from the Rocky Mountain high country to the Valley of the Sun in Arizona. However, the two south-lying states, Arizona and New Mexico, are still able to produce cotton.
The Midwest and West Coast
The Midwestern United States has what is called a “continental” climate. A continental climate means that there is a strong variation in temperature, from summer to winter. This is generally because there is no significant body of water nearby. Despite this, the growing season is mild enough that both Kansas and Missouri are able to produce cotton. The West Coast comprises California, Washington State and Oregon. Of these, only California’s south-lying counties, such as the San Joaquin Valley, produce cotton.