The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Summer Internship Program has hosted more than 30 individuals since it began in 2008. The internships give college students a chance to see what cotton ginning may look like as a career path.
TCGA hopes that the program will continue to produce quality young men and women who are ready to enter the workforce after they graduate.
This year’s interns are Daylan Schulz and Lane Fischer, who both attend Texas A&M University.
Schulz is majoring in agricultural systems management. He is from Abbott, Texas, and has spent many hours working on a farm. Last summer, Schulz interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Ginning Laboratory in Lubbock. He developed an interest in cotton gins and said he looked forward to working for gins during the summer.
He also had the opportunity to shadow a couple employees at the United Agricultural Cooperative in El Campo, Texas. Schulz began his TCGA internship with Lone Star Farmers Cooperative in Mereta, Texas, and will complete the program at Coastal Plains Gin in Mathis, Texas.
Lane Fischer is majoring in biological and agricultural engineering. He is a Lubbock native and spent some time working at BC Supply. His father, Clifford Fischer, works as an engineer for BC Supply and is a graduate of the same department at Texas A&M.
Lane is a member of Aggie Pullers — a group that designs and builds a tractor for competitive pulling each year. He also leads the robotics team competition in the department. Lane began his internship at Highway 67 Gin in Miles, Texas, and will complete his internship with Taft Gin & Seed Co. in Taft, Texas.
In the August issue of Cotton Farming, Schulz and Fischer talked about their initial experiences as TCGA interns. This month, they share their mid-term reports.
Daylan Schulz — Texas A&M University
The second half of my internship I was assigned to Coastal Plains Gin in Mathis, Texas, where I have been working with the owner, John Steelhammer, and his employees. Since I arrived, we have worked through the gin, completing the finishing touches for the fast-approaching cotton season. It is now right around the corner.
The first assignment I assisted with was installing the recently repaired screw conveyer.
This task primarily consumed my first week on the job. Since completing the install, several other employees and I have been conducting final checks throughout the gin. We want to make sure each and every piece of equipment is ready when the first module makes its way down the module feeder.
For the majority of my first week in Mathis, it seemed like all it did was rain, as was the case across most of the state of Texas. However, soon after the rain ceased, the cotton quickly began turning white.
As I type this, I can hear John walking around the gin saying, “We are 10 days out,” which means it is crunch time. I look forward to my final few weeks here in Mathis, as I feel I still have a lot left to learn. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
My involvement during the next couple of weeks as cotton starts rolling into the gin will be very exciting. Until then, you may find John and me dining at our favorite lunch spot, Luby’s, in Corpus Christi.
Lane Fischer — Texas A&M University
For the second half of my Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association internship, I have been working at Taft Gin and Seed Co. I would again like to thank my hosts, Mr. Kyle Taubert and the rest of the employees, for their hospitality.
Upon arriving in Taft, Mr. Taubert explained some of the different challenges cotton gins face, depending on what climate they are located in. Here in Taft, they have to deal with larger amounts of rain than their northern counterparts. Storing modules becomes a problem when parts of the module yard flood during the ginning season.
Mr. Taubert gave me the task to improve the drainage of the module yard. After researching field mapping and water flow, I have made a map of the elevation changes of the field. Next, I will determine where and what grades need to be cut to best allow the water to drain.
It has been fulfilling to apply the engineering methods I learned in class to a real-world problem.
I also have been learning from Ginny Winsauer, chief financial officer and office manager, about how to deal with employees and some of the business aspects of running a cotton gin. In addition, I have learned how to diagnose a problem and do the yearly maintenance on a Continental bale press.
I am looking forward to the next steps and the eventual completion of my module yard project. Also, I am excited for ginning season to start, so I can experience a running cotton gin. I want to thank Mr. Aaron Nelsen and the rest of the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association for giving me this internship opportunity.
The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association provided this information.