Tim Price, executive vice president of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association, said the Mid-South has not lost critical infrastructure, but is making adjustments to an acceleration in mergers and acquisitions. “We have not lost any areas where a farmer cannot get to the gin.”

Price says much of the uncertainty in agriculture today is the result of U.S. producers adjusting to changes and/or potential changes in the farm bill. “What we forget is that every time we go through this process, farmers think of new and better ways to do things that they would not have thought of if they didn’t have their backs against the wall.”

With its technology and infrastructure, the U.S. cotton industry “has such a head start on the rest of the world,” Price said. “Once a person gets bitten by the technology bug and sees its effect on the bottom line, they are hungry for the next level of technology. That is our economic system. It rewards and encourages technology.”

According to Price, the U.S. cotton industry, and agriculture in general, needs to tell the general public a different story than one it’s told in the past. “There is still a heartwarming degree of affection for the American farmer. But the story can’t be that we are the 2 percent that produces for the 98 percent. We have to stress that our productivity as an industry makes us strong as a nation. We should talk more about what agriculture means to the United States and the world.”