TCGA Interns Report On Their ‘Real-World Experience’

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association chose two interns to join the organization this summer and have an opportunity to experience the cotton industry. Both are with member gins throughout the summer.

Josiah Keck is a student at Texas A&M University majoring in agricultural systems management. He will graduate in 2025. Keck is originally from Iowa. His family moved to College Station in 2016. He makes and sells knives and started his own company (Keck Knives) in 2020. Keck has also worked for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as a student worker. He is interning at Petersburg Co-op Gin and Smith Gin Co-op in Odem, Texas.

Riley Gryder is a student at Texas Tech University majoring in mechanical engineering. His expected graduation date is May 2024. Gryder is from Mertzon, Texas, (west of San Angelo) where he is the owner and financial manager of Rocker G Cattle Company (30 cow/calf) ranch. Gryder is a member of the Texas Tech Honors College and is interning at Edcot Gin in Edmonson, Texas, and Edcot Co-op Gin in Odem.

TCGA provides college students with a chance to show their value to potential employers. They will gain valuable “real-world experience” and take the next step in their careers. Below are their reports as they navigate their summer internship.

Josiah Keck

“I have been working for Myles Ramsey, manager of Petersburg Co-op Gin, for the first half of my internship. I have been learning the process of cotton ginning from Mr. Ramsey. The first week I helped take apart augers in the distributor. Next, I took apart the hangers, which are attached to the augers. I cleaned and replaced chains around the sprockets and checked for any damage around the drive shaft, sprocket and ball bearings. Later that same week, I helped one of my co-workers clean out and replace the gin stand saws.

“Mr. Ramsey also took me on several tours. We toured PYCO Industries, RAM Manufacturing and where the cotton samples go to be graded. PYCO was one of the most fascinating to me. PYCO is where the cotton seed, after being ginned, goes to be made into cottonseed oil. There I learned about the process of how a cotton seed is turned into oil. What was very fascinating to me was the lint around the cotton seed. PYCO has three cleaning processes of taking the lint off the seed, and they later turn the lint into bales. One of the coolest facts I learned from the lint is that Samsung buys some of this lint to make their devices.

“During my time at Petersburg Cotton Gin, I have been asking lots of questions about the sales side of cotton. I talked to one of the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association workers and learned about the pool and grades of cotton. PCCA buys portions of cotton to add to their pool. The pool helps get more leverage in the cotton market.

“The first part of my internship was a blast! I learned a lot from Mr. Ramsey and appreciated the time he put into teaching me the ins and outs of a cotton gin. The second part of my internship will be at Smith Gin Co-op in Odem, Texas. I am very excited to get to see how gins are run during the season. Thank you, Aaron Nelsen, and the TCGA for this amazing internship.”

Riley Gryder

“As my first month as a TCGA intern came to an end, I am proud to say that I have learned far more than I expected to. Assigned to Phillip Kidd at Edcot Gin in Edmonson, Texas, I have traveled around the Panhandle working alongside many great people such as Landon Kidd, Daniel Jenkins, Steven Birkenfeld and Malcom Jones. Learning the ins and outs of ginning, I have toured and worked at three Windstar gins – Edcot Gin, Johnson Gin and Top of Texas Gin.

“My internship began with a hands-on tour of Edcot Gin led by Landon Kidd. Throughout the week, I had the opportunity to learn about trading seed, lint and even got to tour BC Supply and MTS in Lubbock. The second week, I stayed in Turkey, Texas, with a great host and manager — Daniel Jenkins. While traveling back and forth to the Johnson Gin in Silverton, I saw how the Caprock affects cotton growers in the area. With different planting dates, it looks like some farmers might have a higher yield of cotton compared to the Caprock, which has had a tough season.

“While at the Johnson Gin, I had the opportunity to work with Kevin Williams and learn what happens inside of gins to keep them running. Pulling wires and putting in new control panels was our main focus here at Johnson Gin, as well as at Top of Texas Gin. Working under Malcom Jones, I was tasked to shadow a group of skilled electricians as we installed new module feeder and shaft monitoring control systems. While the job isn’t done, I plan to revisit Top of Texas Gin in the coming weeks, along with Adobe Walls Gin and Lonestar Gin in Pampa, Texas.

“Overall, I have had many great experiences with many people. I learned more in two weeks than most learn in a lifetime. I would like to thank Aaron Nelsen for giving me this opportunity and Phillip Kidd for organizing and allowing me to have these opportunities. I greatly appreciate the TCGA and cannot wait to learn more about cotton growing and ginning all over Texas.”

TCGA provided this information. 

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