Arkansas says it has paid off debt from boll weevil efforts

Staff Writer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials say they have made their final payment on debt incurred to help fight boll weevils.

The Arkansas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation said Tuesday it had paid off the last $2 million it owed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, three years ahead of schedule. At its peak, the state's tab was $37 million.

The foundation borrowed money from the Farm Service Agency to begin eradication efforts in southwestern Arkansas in 1997 and expanded the program annually. The boll weevil was eradicated in 2006 and afterward the foundation downsized and started advance payments on its debt.

The foundation still monitor for boll weevils as a prevention effort.

Cotton growers pay assessments on each acre of cotton grown in the state to pay for the foundation's costs.