How Much Do Cotton Pickers Make?

October 20, 2023

Cotton pickers make a decent salary, but it's not exactly lucrative work. Based on salaries reported by employees, the average cotton picker earns $34,061 per year. The most experienced cotton pickers can earn upwards of $577 per hour. This is a highly-skilled job, and a high school diploma is required.

Historically, picking cotton was done by hand. It is a hard crop to harvest, growing in tropical or near-tropical humid hot climates. It is also sticky and dirty to handle.

The most common cotton harvesting technique involved removing the lint from the plant, but this left a lot of heavier plant matter behind, like the seeds and the husks. To reduce the amount of waste, a process was introduced which dropped heavy plant matter before the lint made it to the harvester.

One such machine was invented by Eli Whitney in 1832. His cotton gin was an important advancement, but mechanical cotton pickers didn't become widespread until after the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery as an institution.

Cotton picking was often a brutal job, with many enslaved laborers working long hours on the field and earning little to no money for their efforts. In a story shared by Buzzfeed, 103-year-old Madie Scott recounted that she was paid only 50 cents a day when she began working as a cotton picker in the 1940s.

Cotton is a tough crop to harvest, and it takes a skilled team to do so efficiently. When it comes time to replace cotton picker parts, Certi-Pik is here to help. Contact us to learn more about our products and services.


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