Texas International Cotton School brings in local, international students

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Updated: 8/28/2013 4:41 pm
West Texas is known for its cotton production not only just in the state but across the country and the world.

This fact makes it the perfect place to host the Texas International Cotton School every year at the Texas Tech Fiber and Biopolymer Institute. 

Christi Chadwell, the Director of the Texas International Cotton School, told us the whole purpose for the school is to give the participants an entire overview of all that goes into the cotton industry. 

"The idea of the cotton school is really to provide some good training and information, if you will, to these participants that come," Chadwell said. "So over the two weeks they get a really broad overview of all of the different aspects in the cotton industry. So our hope is for the student to learn enough over whatever the topic might be that they want to start implementing in their company, implementing in their country or just to learn a little bit more on the things that impact their job they have in the cotton industry." 

Overall 19 people participated in this years international cotton school and Chadwell said they have varied backgrounds coming into the school. 

"We'll have some people that work in the industry, maybe work for a research station, maybe some that work for growers and warehouses," Chadwell said. "And a lot of our international individuals come from sort of a real specialized background, whether its spinning, working in a textile industry, maybe a little bit of marketing. And then we do have a group of Texas Tech graduate students that receive graduate course credit for attending the cotton school. And a lot of those students are doing some sort of research on some sort of crop. Typically we see them work in cotton since that's the majority of what we have here in Lubbock." 

Three of the 19 students were international students including Daniel Mata. 

Mata, who works for a textile company in Venezuela, attended the school because the company is going into the cotton business and are adding an agriculture department that he will be heading up.  

Mata told us they learned about the harvesting process and much more about the cotton industry during the school and is excited about taking what he has learned here in Lubbock, Texas back to Caracas, Venezuela. 

"There's a difference between Venezuela and the United States but there's a lot of things that we can match and we can add it to the production process of cotton in Venezuela," Mata said. "And just go directly to the growers so I pass on all the information I know. They consult me  and with out agroeconomic engineer we have there. So we have a lot of work to do in the next five to 10 years in Venezuela about the cotton business." 

For other students of the school it hit closer to home as 14 of the participants were from right here in Texas. 

Kristie Keys, who currently works for the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in Lubbock told us the school will definitely benefit her because it will help in her future career plans.

"I really hope to be more familiar with the crop, I wasn't raised in cotton, I was raised on a family farm, a ranching farm. So I really hope to become very familiar with cotton so I can take that back to work and apply it at my job," Keys said. "I work for the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service and we do variety trials on a large plot basis with producers. So this school helps to educate me so I can educate the farmer and the producer on just different technologies and management practices." 

So the participants will take this information either back to their job with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service or back to their company in Venezuela and maybe one day they will return to the cotton school to teach future students about the cotton  industry just as they were. 

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