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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Cotton fields once filled the Mississippi landscape. And while it may not be king anymore, the state still is the nation’s sixth ranked cotton producer. But students and national experts attending a 3-day conference at MSU aren’t so worried about planting as they are using the product.

Cotton summit goers during a breakout session in a classroom at the MSU Union Ballroom got an understanding of the national and global impact of the cotton market.

“I think that’s very valuable, especially in the fashion design and the groups I’m talking with today. They are looking at the fabric. They don’t talk a lot about how it’s grown and made. And what’s driving the prices,” said Frederick Barrier with Staplcotn.

There is the competition with man-made fabrics, having a direct correlation on how the market and prices rise and fall.

“Cotton is loosing its market share to polyester. You can see it, you can go to the sporting goods stores and see all these goods that are man-made in polyester now,” said Barrier.

“Polyester is in the tube. Cotton is made in the ground. People grow that. That’s peoples’ life, we need to let people know that cotton is what we want,” said MSU student Kelcey Bowman.

“In terms of feel, in terms of the way that it holds ink, it’s just really the superior type of fabric for the type of sewing that I do,” said April Cobb with Modern Yardage.

At least when it comes to marketing, fabrics, and the industry in general, these summit goers seem to be sold on cotton. And if they buy more, that means farmers sell more and at a better price.

“Cotton is a natural fiber and I think that’s a big selling point that it has for it,” said Barrier.

“Because the more that I buy of cotton, the more that that’s going to help the industry,” said Bowman.

“For the crafter and the home sewer, I think cotton is just really an ideal fiber,” said Cobb.

The Cotton Summit is funded from a Cotton Student Sponsorship Program grant and is administered by Cotton Incorporated, which seeks to increase the use of cotton.

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