“In the late 1990s, we began to call on foreign cotton mills in an effort to establish premium markets for FiberMax, and this work has now carried over to our Stoneville brand.

“We want to help growers market these traits to the world’s largest cotton-using countries,” Rivenbark says.

“I’ve had plenty of people tell me, ‘Lee, you’re wasting your time chasing U.S. cotton all over the world.’ But I believe we have to think a little outside the box to give our growers every edge they can get to sell their cotton for a premium price,” he adds.

“The Bayer CropScience Certified FiberMax Program began when these varieties first hit the market. The mills saw the difference in the spin-ability of FiberMax cotton early on. So did cotton gins.

“We have a team of people within Bayer CropScience who travel to cotton mills all over the world to promote our high-quality cotton. Mills want quality cotton, and they want U.S. cotton.

“We have this program in place to help foreign cotton buyers understand these advantages and influence them to buy more U.S. cotton first and more FiberMax and Stoneville cotton second,” Rivenbark says.

“Cotton farmers are using this marketing edge to sell their cotton and to get a premium price for their crop. This extra money goes back into the rural economy and helps small businesses that provide the infrastructure for U.S. cotton to stay in business,” he adds.

It’s a challenge for all the seed producers in the U.S. cotton industry to provide enough high-quality seed to growers every year, despite the ups and downs in acreage

“We are already planning our seed supply for the 2014 crop,” he says. “Right now, we are looking at slightly more than 10 million acres next year.

“We don’t see anything on the horizon that will prevent acreage from rising slightly next year, but we have to monitor global information in order to keep these projections accurate.

“Communities that depend on cotton depend on companies like ours to get the right variety, with the right traits, in a bag of cottonseed and in the right quantity.

“In most cases, an acre of cotton or peanuts produces much more revenue than grain crops in the Southeast. So, having enough high-quality seed directly reflects on a farmer’s ability to make a profit and to subsequently contribute to the rural economy in which he farms and lives, the Bayer CropScience executive says.

Cotton and peanuts have been King and Crown Prince among crops in the Southeast for a long, long time.

Keeping the infrastructure that supports these industries that are so valuable to small towns across the region will be more difficult as both crops face major issues going into the 2013 crop season.

rroberson@farmpress.com