We drove by miles of wide open cotton ground. Some fields had been harvested, others still full of pure white little snowballs.
We drove up the lane of the Commonwealth Cotton Gin flanked by modules on one side and the newer round bales of cotton on the other. Johnny Parker, cotton agronomist, met us outside the gin. We were full of questions since this was the first trip to a gin for most of the group. Johnny explained the process from start to finish.
We saw how the bales come into the gin and the cotton is cleaned and the seeds are separated.
The cotton is then put into a big bag and moved to the warehouse to wait until the buyer is ready to take shipment. A good bit of the cotton is exported. We spent sometime in the cotton seed building and even saw a truck getting loaded with seed. Most of the seed is made into livestock feed because of its high energy content.
Turns out the gin was built before it was actually needed. (Kind of the egg or chicken situation). If there was no gin, then farmers wouldn’t grow cotton. But on the other hand, if there was no cotton then why have a gin. The owners took a leap of faith and trusted that the neighboring farmers would start growing cotton if they built the gin. Things all came together that fall many years ago. There is actually more cotton acreage in the area than there have been in past years. Maybe that old saying “walking in high cotton” came from Windsor, Virginia.