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New cotton gin set to open in Limestone County

Several local farmers joined the cotton gin cooperative operating out of Athens.

Posted: Sep 27, 2018 5:36 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 2:51 PM

A new $7.2 million cotton gin will soon be opening up in Limestone County. This will be the first one to open in 60 years. 

The facility is located at the intersection of Brownsferry and Ripley roads. This cotton gin will allow farmers to be able to process their cotton faster and in turn get paid quicker.

Associated Growers Cooperative began planning for the gin in November of last year. Manager Billy Sickler told us construction began in April after 11 local farmers joined in on the project. Sickler said the slow production process last year was one of the reasons the gin was needed.

"Last year we had a big crop come in and it took us five and a half months to gin a crop last year."

Sickler explained that farmers aren't able to sell their cotton crops until they have been ginned. The new gin will double the amount of bales they are able to process allowing them to make a profit quicker.

"The old gin, we would gin between 20 and 24 bales per hour. This gin will gin between 45 and 60 gins per hour."

Jerry Newby of Newby Farms is one of the farmers involved in the project. He decided to join after shutting down his own gin. He said he hopes the new gin will help him process his cotton faster and yield a better quality product.

"Hopefully as some quality to the cotton with this new technology in these gins. Adding the fiber length and things like that, that happen in the ginning process."

The gin is expected to open in the next three weeks. Associated Growers said they've already had one farm bring cotton to the gin for processing. They're expecting more farmers to start bringing crops once the rain passes and the cotton dries out.

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