The arrival of Yaqui laborers was fortuitous for all involved, as demand and prices for cotton skyrocketed with World War I. (p. 140)
Chapter 6, Note 77 . . . for information on cotton pricing and demand. (p. 244)
By 1919, 82,000 acres of Arizona land had been put into cotton production. From 1916 to 1919, cotton prices had nearly doubled, rising from $233 to $406 a bale. Industrial buyers, such as Goodyear, who preferred Arizona’s extra-long-staple cotton for tire production, purchased for up to $650 a bale ($1.25 per pound). By 1920, many expected prices to rise to as much as $1.50 per pound and by year’s end Arizona cotton acreage rose to 200,000 acres (180,000 acres in the Salt River Valley). Irrigated land had risen some 800% in value and the previous heterogeneous landscape of dairy lands, grain and alfalfa fields, date and citrus orchards transformed into monocrop cotton. The Yaqui labor force, many of which were concurrently leaving railroad and mining jobs was quickly absorbed in the new cotton industry.
- Thomas Sheridan, Arizona: A History (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1995), 213.