Not Enough Cotton Force South Plains Gins to Close - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/29/03

Not Enough Cotton Force South Plains Gins to Close

Cotton gins depend 100% on farmers to keep them in business, but this year's crop spells disaster for many of them. With cotton production down, some cotton gins are closing their doors and laying off dozens of workers.

The only footsteps you'll hear at the Scott Gin in Floydada belong to Gin Manager John Woelful and aside from that all you'll hear is this, an eerie silence unheard in 11 years, that signifies this gin is closed for business. "Usually we start October 1st and go to Christmas," says Woelful.

This year farmers all across the South Plains felt mother nature's wrath as she pounded the life from a million acres of cotton. A million acres that would normally keep area ginners in business. "Hail in the spring right after planting time in June and then cool weather, lots of rain, most of our cotton died from cool weather and too much rain all at once," says Woelful.

Last year, Woelful ginned 7,400 cotton bales and this year not even one bale will make its way through the empty gin. With that Woelful had to lay off all 25 of his workers. Their untouched time cards and lonely hard hats spell out a disappointing year for Scott Gin. "This is our busy time of year. This is the time we get to earn our living for the whole year and it's not gonna happen," says Woelful.

Woelful will have to wait a whole year for his next pay day but until then he's taking on a second job to make ends meet. "We've had to lay off full time people and I'm managing another gin too make up for what I could lose," says Woelful.

Scott Gin isn't the only gin that will be closing. At least seven gins will be closed on the South Plains this season. One in Hale, Hockley, Yoakum, Crosby, Lamb, and two gins in Floyd. All together more than 100 people will be without jobs at those gins.

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