Dollar cotton—the stuff dreams are woven of, the Holy Grail of both hard scrabble farms and plantation-sized enterprises, the benchmark that lures typically cautious farmers to wait a few more days to price their crops and, more often than not, catches them in a downward spiral that moves down a lot faster than it moved up.

Dollar cotton—the bones of novel plots that pit hard-working farmers against the treachery of speculators. If it ever reaches a dollar a pound, stories go,  dirt poor tenant farmers can buy their way out of poverty, send their kids to school, buy land, enter the realm of respectability, and sneer at their former landlords. Moving on up.

Dollar cotton became a reality for the first time since 1995 Monday, according to a Bloomberg report that put December futures at $1.015 a pound.

Other reports indicate potential for prices to reach $1.25 before the run is done.