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Cotton gin rebounds with strong 2019 crop

Richardson Co-Op gin in Woodsboro
Posted at 9:04 AM, Oct 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-09 10:17:11-04

WOODSBORO, Texas — South Texas is known for its rich farmlands, and two years ago, the area was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.

Millions of dollars were lost in the cotton industry alone.

It has been a long and tough road to recovery for the Richardson Co-op Gin in Woodsboro. But the good news is, they are back in business.

Two years ago Hurricane Harvey ripped through the Richardson Co-op Gin causing millions of dollars worth of damage and destroyed its cotton season.

“We took pretty much a direct hit. We had over a $6 million loss in cotton and over $2 1/2 million in property damage. It was a long road to recovery,” said Bayside-Richardson Co-op Gin manager David Wyatt.

Harvey’s winds and rain wiped out entire fields causing hundreds of millions of dollars to Coastal Bend’s staple cash crop.

“Each of the individual round bales has about four bales in it, and a set of four of them is how we gin it, and a set of four is about 16 bales. Each bale of cotton this year is worth about $300 so you are looking at about $4,800 a module,” said Wyatt.

When cotton farmers have a down season, it doesn’t just affect the producers, it affects everybody in the industry: the cotton gin, the support staff, and the module and bale haulers.

“They count on this as a large part of their income for the year that they will gather in 10-12 weeks. This year they are going to kind of catch up a little for what they lost in 2017,” said Wyatt.

South Texas farmers are resourceful and resilient, and they have bounced back with yields just as good or even better than 2017. That means cotton gins will be working nonstop for the next few weeks.

“This crop will far surpass what Harvey took from us. Like I say, that was going to be a 47,000 bale crop. This one is going to be a 57,000 bale crop. We got almost 34,000 of that ginned with about 23,000 to go and thank God the hurricane season looks like it is about over. I think we are going to be able to keep this one,” said Wyatt.

Wyatt says with this bumper crop, he is expecting more than $17 million worth of cotton to be running through his gin.

In 2017 the massive storm hit Texas farmers and ranchers hard with more than $200 million in crop and livestock losses, with cotton estimated at a $100 million loss.

Many producers and cooperative cotton gins that experienced losses in many forms are still working to get back to normal, even two years after Hurricane Harvey. While many farmers were covered with hurricane insurance, there were many that were not covered.