Date of Award

8-1-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Pense, Seburn

Abstract

Cotton production came to a halt in Southern Illinois in 1974 after the last crop was harvested. Many factors went into the death of cotton in Southern Illinois. My dissertation addresses the factors that halted cotton production in 1974, and new technologies that will enable farmers to grow cotton again in 2019. Temperature and rainfall are two important factors that affect the growth of cotton. Once cotton is re-introduced into Southern Illinois, an infrastructure with a well-trained workforce will need to be in place to sustain this new industry. This study was motivated by three research goals and questions: (1) Have Southern Illinois temperatures increased or decreased over the last 50 years? Specifically has Growing Degree Days or Heat Units increased over the last 50 years creating a more suitable environment for cotton production in Southern Illinois? (2) Was rainfall a limiting factor in the death of cotton in 1974 and the revival in 2018? How has rainfall changed in Southern Illinois over the last 50 years? (3) What impact would the cotton industry have on the Southern Illinois workforce? Specifically, what would education and training for a new cotton industry entail?

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