BY TOMMY HORTON
The Texas cotton industry has always had a reputation for being at its best when confronted with difficult challenges. That will be the case again in 2013 as producers and ginners deal with drought conditions and competition from grain prices.
After experiencing a record-breaking drought in 2011 followed by a similar situation in 2012, it’s obvious the state’s cotton industry knows how to cope with a lack of rainfall. But that doesn’t mean it has been easy, and a change in weather trends across the state would be welcome news for this spring.
Even with this scenario as a backdrop for the new crop season, the enthusiasm hasn’t waned as the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association prepares for its annual meeting and trade show on April 4-5 in Lubbock.
“Weather has been our biggest issue for the last two years,” says Tony Williams, TCGA executive vice president. “We can’t have any discussion without talking about it. Having said that, I remain optimistic and hopeful that we can get enough moisture to get a crop planted. I’m excited about our upcoming show and annual meeting. Spirits are still high.”
An Appropriate Theme
Because of such an environment surrounding the new crop season and TCGA’s connection to all sectors, it’s appropriate that the theme for this year’s show is: “TCGA…An Important Link To Texas Cotton.”
As Williams likes to say, every industry segment is affected by the drought, and TCGA does its part to offer support.
“The entire Texas cotton industry comes together in good and bad times,” he says. “Perseverance is worth a lot. It’s not always going to be a bed of roses. But I’d like to think that our ginners are pretty good about hunkering down and surviving.”
Williams says the quick and efficient ginning of the 2012 crop could ultimately help gins be more profitable because of lower production costs. He says some gins might break even or realize a profit because of how quickly they processed last year’s crop.
In 2010, the state processed 7.6 million bales. That figure dropped dramatically to 3.5 million bales in 2011 during the record-breaking drought season. The final ginning numbers for 2012 increased slightly to five million.
Automation In The Gin
Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association Annual Meeting & Trade Show
• April 4-5, Lubbock, Texas.
• Trade Show at Lubbock Civic Center.
• Meetings conducted at Overton Hotel.
• Other events include TCGA Board Meeting, Plains Cotton Growers Annual Meeting and Texas Cotton Ginners Trust Meeting.
• TCGA Awards Banquet on April 5.
• For more information, contact TCGA at (512) 476-8388.
In addition to the theme of working with other segments of the Texas cotton industry during difficult years, Williams believes another topic will be obvious at this year’s show. More automation is being implemented in Texas gins.
Williams has already observed how automation might be a part of ginning operations in the future. He witnessed one such system where only one person was working in the bale press area. The gin worker was putting samples on the sleeve and dropping them into a bag to send to the classing office. The system automatically pulled the samples from the bale, sealed the bag and put the identification tag on each side of the bale.
Instead of needing four or five workers for this task, the system required only one worker.
“These are some of the breakthroughs in technology that are coming down the pike,” says Williams. “And we’ll probably see some examples of this at the show.”
As expected, TCGA has already filled all of its exhibitor space, and because of demand Williams is considering the idea of opening up the second floor or expanding into the banquet hall. But no decisions have been made yet on that prospect.
Contact Tommy Horton at (901) 767-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.