Carnegie Co-op Breaks Ground on State-of-the-Art Cotton Gin Facility Amid Cotton's Rise in OklahomaThu, 22 Jun 2017 12:01:36 CDT
The Carnegie Farmers Coop Mill and Elevator officials, area cotton growers, industry leaders and government representatives, Thursday, broke ground on its new, state-of-the-art cotton gin. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays was there to speak with the co-op's veteran gin manager, Jeanie Hileman, about the new facilities and why the decision was made to upgrade from their current gin. You can listen to Hays' entire conversation with Hileman about the new cotton gin, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR located at the bottom of this story.
"We lucked into an opportunity where a gin was closing due to weather conditions and we flew out there and looked at it, thinking we would put some of the equipment in our gin," Hileman recounted. "We ended up deciding that it was too awesome an opportunity not to just go ahead and break ground and create a whole new facility."
But why were they looking for more equipment in the first place? According to Hileman, the area in which the Carnegie cotton gin services has the potential to double this year, compared to the already astonishing record number of bales ginned in 2016.
"We ginned 61,000+ bales off of 25,000 acres last year from seven different counties," she said. "We've already got probably 57,000 acres in our area, maybe as many as 12 counties this year that we've got the possibility of bringing cotton in so, we have the potential to double. But, we need Mother Nature's help for that."
The new equipment is top-of-the-line, Hileman says, purchased from a closed facility in Mount Olive, North Carolina. She says the new $3.5 million facility and the equipment was all produced by Consolidated Manufacturing in 2001. She adds that the plans for the new building have been designed with room for expansion as well. The decision to completely disassemble and relocate the gin, was opted for by the coop's board of directors, as the project is only quoted at a third of the cost of building an entirely new ginning facility from scratch.
The new facility includes an unloading system, first and second stage drying and preclearing systems, three gin stands, a lint cleaning system, condenser and humidification unit, bale press system, mote press, IntelliGin system and other miscellaneous parts and equipment. The three gin stands have a 45 bale per hour capacity and it is designed to accommodate a fourth gin stand which will increase capacity up to 60 bales per hour. The gin will be erected on 80 acres of land, located four miles north of Carnegie on Highway 58. Benefits of the new facility include but are not limited to increased productivity, lower labor and utility cost per bale, reduced maintenance and annual capital expenditures, and a reduction in environmental compliance issues.
After 28 seasons, working with the producers in her part of the state, Hileman has seen the cotton industry go through its fair share of ups and downs. In recent years, though, especially this year with cotton acres expected to skyrocket in Oklahoma and across the South, she says cotton is back on top. When asked what has changed in the business during her career, she has a simple answer.
"A lot!" she quipped. "Technologies have changed, harvesting methods have changed. The new round bales pickers have just been phenomenal for our industry."
The new gin is expected to be up and operational by November 1, 2017.
For more of Hileman's remarks on the new cotton gin's ground-breaking, be sure to listen to her full, on-location interview, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, by clicking the LISTEN BAR below.
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