Dead leaves crunched and crackled as Charles Parker walked between the precise rows of his nearly matured crop of cotton near Senath, Mo. Parker, current chairman of the National Cotton Council, has seen many changes in cotton fields throughout his life.
“There have been a lot of changes in my life in cotton production and it has all been for the better,” Parker said.
As with most commodities, production has become more efficient with time. Parker picked cotton by hand as a boy and has made the advance from a one-row picker to a six-row picker on his farm.
But manual labor still has its place in the production process. During the roughly three-month harvest season, Farmers Union Gin Co., partially owned by Parker, operates with assistance from 85-90 employees. An intricate crop requires an intricate process.
“We’re going to keep growing cotton as long as it’s profitable,” Parker said.