In addition to the anticipated increase in cotton acres this year, more good news for the industry was the October 2009 opening of a 128,000-square-foot cotton spinning mill – Lacassine I – in Lacassine, La., which is located in the southwest corner of the state.
The mill is owned by Zagis USA, a partnership founded in 2007 between North Carolina textile executives and Grupo ZAGA, one of Mexico’s most successful commercial and industrial conglomerates. The company refines unprocessed raw materials and creates value-added agricultural goods for international consumption. According to the company, Zagis currently produces more than 77 million pounds worldwide of textile fibers annually.
After considering several potential locations, Zagis USA chose to build the new mill in Louisiana. To secure the project, the Louisiana Economic Development Department provided funds through the state’s Economic Development Loan Opportunity Program, and the State Bond Commission approved additional money in Jefferson Davis Parish industrial bonds.
Power Source A Plus
Another incentive is the availability of a reliable supply of electricity at a good price.
A Zagis USA company spokesman says, “Because our equipment is state-of-the-art and controlled by programmable logic controls, the machines have frequency inverters that can regulate the fan speed, allowing us to optimize our production rate. The production and cleaning lines are controlled by air pressure, and, as the fans move down the line, monitoring this pressure and adjusting it can provide a higher rate of production.
“Any dip in power would stop our equipment and thus production,” he adds. “Due to our advanced level of technology, we are reliant on a steady and reliable flow of electricity that is not typically available in countries that offer cheaper labor.”
In addition to state funds and the power supply, transportation is an important factor since the yarn can easily be shipped out of the Port of Lake Charles, which is very close by.
After beginning operations last October, Lacassine I is using cotton grown in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and other states.
“Ultimately, we expect to purchase at least 25 percent of our cotton from Louisiana,” notes the Zagis USA spokesman. “We buy our cotton according to leaf and color. It’s also important to the mill that the cotton is mature and not overworked at the gin, so that it is not damaged or short in fiber by the time it arrives at our plant. We want to utilize a high-quality material that will be processed through state-of-the-art machinery.”
Mill Called ‘The Real Deal’
Last December, Zagis USA hosted a grand opening ceremony attended by president and CEO Dan Deibus, the Zaga family, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, elected officials and other interested visitors, including Louisiana cotton producer Jack Dailey and Jess Barr, Louisiana Cotton and Grain Association executive director.
Dailey, who has toured many textile mills over the years, called Lacassine I “the real deal.” He noted that while some U.S. mills may have been updated, the Lacassine facility was built for state-of-the-art equipment from the ground up.
“Their base cotton quality requirements are not anything out of reach for Louisiana in most years,” Dailey says. “The fact that the mill has to buy a certain percentage of Louisiana cotton is a positive for us as producers, and we can provide a good transportation advantage, too. Also, there is the possibility that the company could use Louisiana warehouses to store some of its cotton.
“It’s a good example of how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which often gets a bad rap for a lot of things, can actually be beneficial,” he adds. “Locating this mill in Louisiana shows that a company in Mexico sees advantages to having a spinning operation in the United States near the cotton. It appears to be a very efficient mill, and they have employed a lot of local people.”
Barr, who is familiar with the mill, agrees with Dailey’s observations.
“It’s an impressive facility,” Barr says. “I believe this mill is going to work to everyone’s advantage. We’re glad to have Zagis USA in the state of Louisiana and hope that the Lacassine I textile mill is very successful.”
Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Closer Look At Lacassine I
• The first cotton spinning facility built in the United States in many years.
• Uses the most modern equipment available today for the production of open-end yarn.
• Employs a complete Trutzschler Open-End Cleaning Line, which offers state-of-the-art
equipment capable of gently processing the cotton fibers at a very high production rate.
• One cleaning line can process more than 2,200 pounds of cotton/hour.
• Using new, state-of-the-art open-end spinning machines manufactured by Oerlikon Schlafhorst.
• 128,000-square-foot plant that produces more pounds/square foot than any other plant in the world.
• Expects to spin 55 million pounds of yarn per year at the Lacassine facility.
• Yarn is best suited for knitted products such as t-shirts.
Source: Zagis USA