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Don't forget agriculture production is still important

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Remember how white the ground was on Feb. 12, when it was covered with a thick layer of snow?

Or how about the last days of August when the cotton fields in Ellis County were white with the soft fluffy fiber?

It seems the increased yield can be attributed to the snow adding nitrogen to the soil and the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication program is working.

Producers and landowners voted for the program four or five years ago and this year’s assessment is $13.25 an acre in the Northern Blacklands zone.

Checking out the county’s cotton gins, most of that white has been harvested, ginned and areas surrounding their property has turned white with the modules that have been trucked in.

When rural water systems began in the early 1980s, it drastically changed agriculture and land use in the county. Cotton and other crop acreage was reduced as developments were begun.

In 1968, there was about 15 gins in the county, half were cooperatives, owned by those who patronized them.

The Ferris Co-op Gin decided to close down in 1983 under the leadership of John Turner.

The facility was sold and the proceeds were returned to the stockholders.

There was at least one gin in each town, and three cotton oil mills to process the seed.

Now, located in the southern part of the county is Boyce gin operated by Dennis Horak and he said they had ginned more than 5,000 bales with more than 200 modules waiting to be ginned.

Avalon Co-op Gin has processed close to 5,000 bales with about 200 modules on their yard according to Isabell Loya and the manager is Kenneth Southard.

The gin and surrounding slopes at Howard seemed to have a lot more modules waiting to be ginned and owner George Withrow said they had baled more than 5,000.

When this writer quit working at the Ferris Co-op in 1970, there were more than 50 individual farmers growing cotton, now less than 10 remain because of housing developments, improvements to farm machinery, more efficient farming practices and greater challenges in order to make aprofit.

Fewer gins are a result of lower acreage, equipment which uses less labor, ginning 12 to 15 bales per hour instead of four per hour and the more efficient modules instead of the old wire trailers used for transporting.

By the way, the word "gin" gets its name from "engine" which was a new term in the early days of separating the fiber from the seed with machinery.

Folks don’t forget that the production of cotton and other ag products are vital to the economy.

Demand overseas helps to bring in money to the U.S. as the dollars go out to purchase oil and other products, thereby helping to balance the trade deficit.


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