The possibility of a quarantine on cotton produced in five North Delta counties motivated growers to continue in the region-wide boll weevil eradication program. Eighty-nine percent of growers voted to continue the eradication, the largest percentage recorded on a Mississippi referendum of this kind.
The previous two votes for Leflore, Quitman, Sunflower, Tunica and west Tallahatchie counties showed that the majority of Mississippi growers supported the program. But both referendums failed to receive the ⅔ majority required for passage. A vote in June yielded 55% approval; the August vote totaled 65.95% in favor.
“If a quarantine had been imposed, growers would have faced a much more restrictive situation,” says Will McCarty, Mississippi State University extension cotton specialist. “A quarantine would have required basically the same effort as the eradication program, plus the additional cost of a quarantine.”
Growers agreed to annual assessments of not more than $12/acre to take part in the eradication program.
After the second referendum failed, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce released plans to impose a quarantine on the region's cotton. All cotton produced in the region would have been required to be ginned within region boundaries. Cottonseed and equipment to be moved from the region would have had to be fumigated.