Cotton producers in Texas' Northwest Plains Eradication Zone, Abilene, have become the latest growers to affirm their commitment to boll weevil eradication.

Results from a recent retention election showed more than 83 percent of the voters in favor of continuing eradication in the zone.

The Northwest Plains began eradication in 1999 and is on the verge of eliminating boll weevils from the area's cotton fields, as pheromone trap catches have fallen to the point where only an average of 9 weevils were caught for every 10,000 traps inspected during the 2002 growing season — a decrease in the zone's weevil populations of more than 99 percent.

“We were real pleased with the way the vote turned out,” said John Saylor, the zone's representative on the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation Board of Directors. “It just reaffirms that what we're doing is right, and everyone is committed to finishing the program.”

Saylor was re-elected to his position on the board in the election.

“Our board members have kind of adopted a saying these days: A good investment, finish the job,” said Lindy Patton, executive director of the foundation.

“Growers across the state seem to agree that eradication has been a good investment, and like the Northwest Plains producers, they've shown their commitment to finishing the job with their votes.”

Growers in active boll weevil eradication zones in the state must vote every four years whether to continue eradication activities in their zone. Since October 2001, the Southern Rolling Plains, South Texas/Winter Garden, Rolling Plains Central and Western High Plains zones have all reaffirmed their commitment to eradication, all passing with favorable votes of more than 80 percent.