In spite of the pandemic, we were able to host a few interns this year. These internships give college students a chance to see what cotton ginning may look like as a career path. Since the inception of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Summer Internship Program in 2008, we have hosted more than 30 individuals.
Had it not been for TCGA’s internship, most of those students would have never set foot in a cotton gin. We currently have several former interns who are employed throughout the industry doing some good work. Our hope is the program will continue to produce quality young men and women who are ready to enter the workforce once they graduate from college.
Below, Lane Fisher, who is from Lubbock, and Daylan Schulz, who hails from Abbott, Texas, talk about their experiences in this year’s program.
Lane Fisher — Texas A&M University
For the first half of my Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association internship, I have been working at Highway 67 Cotton Gin in Miles, Texas. I would like thanking my generous hosts, Mr. Willis Taubert, Mr. Max Kerley and the rest of the employees, for their immense hospitality.
My internship began with Mr. Taubert explaining each step in the ginning process from module to bale while giving me a tour of the gin.
Most of the yearly maintenance had been finished before I arrived. However, I got to participate in changing leaky O-rings in the press hydraulic pumping units. I learned that no matter how hard you try not to, hydraulic fluid will get everywhere.
Highway 67 has decided to replace their module feeder this year. We have been busy installing the parts as they come. A new power main needed to be installed to power the new fans for the new module feeder and precleaner, so I have learned a lot about electrical power and control equipment in a gin.
In between the installation and maintenance of the machinery, Mr. Taubert taught me about the ginning industry as a whole. He took me to a local bale warehouse and grain elevator. Mr. Taubert taught me how gins make money as well as how they make money for their farmers. He also explained that not all gins operate the same and discussed some of the different ways gin operate.
For the second half of my internship, I am headed to Taft Gin and Seed Co. with Mr. Kyle Taubert in Taft, Texas. I am looking forward to working at an operating gin as their ginning season should start while I am in Taft.
I want to thank Mr. Aaron Nelsen and the rest of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association for giving me this internship opportunity. The experience and hands-on training I have received will be very valuable as I continue my education at Texas A&M this fall.
Daylan Schulz — Texas A&M University
For the first portion of my internship, I was assigned to Lone Star Farmers Co-op in Mereta, Texas, where I worked with Paul Schwernter and his staff. Specifically, through my first two weeks, I shadowed Tyler Davison and Heath Wyatt at the new gin.
Every day of working with those two was different, and every day I learned something new. We spent the majority of our time in the gin making several repairs and upgrades in preparation for this upcoming gin season. Cotton, which was planted within the past few weeks, is just starting to peak out from the beds.
One of the main tasks I assisted with was the installation of the plastic press in front of the module feeder in the gin. This consumed the majority of my time the first week due to the necessary wiring of the motor to the breaker box and repainting the equipment needed to get it into running shape.
Another major task of my internship at Lone Star Farmers Cooperative consisted of operating the grain elevator in Lohn, Texas, where we loaded and unloaded wheat, and took moisture samples of loads coming in.
I also have been fortunate to work in the agronomy department under Garrett Rogers and Jeff Rutledge. We loaded, unloaded and distributed seed and fertilizer to farmers as they called in and needed it. Garrett and Jeff are constantly helping farmers construct a plan, whether it is for cotton seed or necessary chemicals for their crops.
Being able to work beside them has been very insightful and beneficial to my overall internship experience.
Mereta, Texas, may be a small town, but the people and staff at the co-op are first class and did whatever was in their power to make me feel at home and treat me like family, regardless of how little time I’ve known them.
Donald Draper of the television series Mad Men said, “When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere, just ask him. If you listen, he’ll tell you how he got there.”
Whether it is listening to the several people whose names I’ve mentioned above or simply listening to the local farmers over coffee in the office every morning, there is always something new for me to learn. I look forward to continuing to learn from the people in Mereta.
The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association provided this report.