He understands the realities of a global marketplace, especially on the U.S. cotton industry, and says maintaining a workable infrastructure that is so critical for cotton and peanuts won’t be easy and solutions will likely come slowly.

“Once a peanut sheller or cotton ginner goes out of business, these operations are usually gone for good,” Rivenbark says. “When these businesses are gone, in small towns like my hometown, car dealerships, banks, restaurants and most other businesses suffer and the rural enterprise is severely challenged to maintain sustainability for the business end of these crops.”

While global companies are often blamed for lagging rural economies, companies like Bayer CropScience play a key role in helping to revitalize rural enterprises in towns and counties across the country.

By providing the tools for farmers to grow crops more efficiently, these companies are supporting local seed and agrichemical companies, and providing income for farmers and agri-businesses that is primarily spent in rural areas to support rural businesses.

Rivenbark says global corporations are better able to withstand market fluctuations, but when an industry loses more than two million acres it hurts everyone.

To sustain those kinds of economic hits, a company, large or small, has to have a strong commitment from the top. “Bayer CropScience has established cotton as a core crop, so we have a commitment to stay in the cotton business,” Rivenbark says.

Bayer CropScience is a major player in most crops grown in the U.S. because of its involvement with high tech traits and crop protection. However, in its latest strategic plan, vegetables, rice, canola, soybeans and cotton were selected to be the company’s core crops globally.

Rivenbark says that in 2007 Bayer CropScience bought Stoneville, a major supplier of U.S. cottonseed. At the time of the purchase, U.S. cotton acreage was booming, at around 15 million acres.

This year, just six years after the purchase, U.S. cotton acreage is predicted to be around 9.1 million acres. It takes a long-term commitment from the top for a company to sustain those kinds of acreage cuts, he adds.

With every cottonseed company in the country developing new and better varieties, growers have more options for buying high quality cotton seed than at any time in history.

Rivenbark says Bayer CropScience understands that market reality and began making plans more than a decade ago to help the company sustain such market fluctuations.