Cotton Links


Industry Trying To Save
Lubbock Gin Lab

By Tommy Horton

A united Texas cotton industry is continuing its fight to keep the Bush Administration from closing the USDA-ARS Lubbock Ginning Laboratory. Texas officials vow they’ll do everything within their power to keep that closure from happening.

This marks the second time in recent years that attempts were made to close the $1.2 million facility – all in the name of trimming the federal budget.

At a time when the High Plains has seen a dramatic increase in cotton yields and quality, the facility has become even more important to the future of the region’s cotton research.

Last month during the Texas Cotton Ginners’ annual meeting and trade show in Lubbock, several of the state’s cotton industry leaders announced plans to fight the Administration’s proposal.

“This region is breaking records, both in terms of quality and quantity of cotton produced,” says TCGA president Jim Bradford, a ginner from Dimmitt, Texas. “Why would anyone propose the closure of a research facility that is right in the forefront of all this success.”

Research Benefits Entire Belt

Bradford contends that the Lubbock Gin Lab plays an important role for the entire U.S. Cotton Belt and not just the High Plains. For example, he says the facility has one of the best particulate matter sampling labs in the country.

“We are all aware of new regulations that seem to just keep coming on the environmental front,” he adds. “This lab has been a leader in helping agriculture determine how to meet those regulations.”

Bradford also believes the government’s decision is especially ill-timed in light of how cotton production continues to remain strong in the High Plains.

Producers Need Industry Support

Perhaps the most compelling reason to keep the facility open is how cotton producers have relied on it to improve fiber quality and efficiency at the farm level.

Barry Evans of Kress, Texas, is a cotton and grain farmer currently serving as president of Plains Cotton Growers. He says he can’t imagine being a farmer without the support of the Lubbock Gin Lab.

“I depend on a combination of allied industries and research entities to help me produce the high quality cotton that the world textile industry demands,” he says. “I just hope our elected representatives will recognize the value of this facility and maintain support for it in the new budget.”

Texas cotton industry leaders say they will continue to work with several cotton organizations, including the National Cotton Council, TCGA and Plains Cotton Growers to maintain funding for the lab.

Contact Tommy Horton at thorton@onegrower.com or (901) 767-4020.


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