Inside the country's largest cotton gin in Spearman
SPEARMAN, Texas —
The Adobe Walls Gin in Spearman is making history as the largest cotton gin in the United States.
A group of farmers and gin owners formed a partnership in 2016.
They raised $10 million and borrowed $5 million more to create a massive cotton gin operation, ginning out around 300,000 bales of cotton a year.
It's been getting a lot of attention since it's expansion.
“Hundreds of trucks that are hauling that stuff in and out and hauling bales and seed and burrs off,” said cotton farmer Travis Patterson.
“Before this gin was here, this was CRP ground that I think paid the county three dollars an acre, and now we're paying the county well over $100,000 in ad valorem taxes,” said Adobe Walls Gin General Manager Jerrell Key.
Key walked ABC 7 News through the new, very loud, facility Friday afternoon.
Inside, they've added four new gins and hope to add two more before next ginning season in hopes of increasing capacity.
The addition of two more gins and another presser would increase their ginning capacity to 3,000 bales a day.
Owners also added two new seed houses and another truck barn with scales.
Patterson tells ABC 7 News he was skeptical of the Adobe Walls Gin at first. He grew up running a wheat pasture and never expected to call himself a cotton farmer.
“I told my wife, cotton will never work here. They'll be stacking hay in that thing in three years, but lo and behold, they've just kept adding on and it's going great guns and there's cotton everywhere. You can't go anywhere without seeing cotton up there,” said Patterson.
Key said cotton is a great crop for the Texas Panhandle as it doesn't use a lot of water like corn and wheat do.
He tells ABC 7 News the cotton crop and gin are both helping farmers there in a big way.
“Farmers were having to go all the way over Carson County or Moore County to get their cotton ginned. It is it's giving the farmers another option. It's proven itself up here and if the math works (they can) put some cotton in with their grains,” said Key.
The new partnership joins 50 to 70 owners who said they're proud to be a part of this enormous cotton gin operation, but as with most farmers, they're still humble.
“We had no intentions of trying to beat a record. We just needed to turn farmers cotton to money and to do that in a timely way. And that's why we did this and I guess panhandle spirit wise, it's a bragging right, and it kind of makes us puff our chests out, but at the end of the day, we're just here to gin cotton,” said Key.
The Adobe Walls Gin was built in 2006.
Each bale of cotton is tested by the United States Department of Agriculture.