Texas is the number one cotton producing state in the U.S., and with agriculture and the cotton fiber industry driving nearly one third of Lubbock's total annual economy, it makes sense to host the Texas Cotton Ginners annual trade show right here in our civic center each year. The TCGA just finished up their 106th annual trade show.
"This is the 35th one we've done in Lubbock. Many years ago it was in Dallas. But it brings in ginners from across the state. Actually we get ginners from other states in the U.S. as well as we have a few people that come from over seas to attend our show," Tony Williams said.
Tony Williams with TCGA said that about 135 total vendors attended the event and were showing off the latest innovations in ginning technology, including touch screen electronics and bales that practically bag themselves.
"Gin equipment and machinery companies, and those that provide services and other equipment, machinery and parts to the ginning industry all come out and exhibit here at the trade show," Williams said.
Cotton farmers and the general public came out the event as well. Everyone had the opportunity to learn something new about cotton.
"We'll have probably 2,200-2,500 that will come through the trade show in the two day period," Williams said. "You know it's an opportunity really for people in the industry to come together and see other friends and talk to the vendors and exhibitors, the people that are providing equipment and services to them."
Williams said that new ginning technologies being released on the market today are helping to improve efficiency and reduce labor costs.
"The big thing today is technology, like all industries it changes quick, it changes fast, and it's the same way in the ginning industry, the cotton producing side of the industry," Williams said. "So they can come out here and see the latest technology and see the tools that can help them be more efficient and bottom line improve their profitability."
Going into cotton planting season during the next couple of months Williams said that acres may be up thanks to rebounding cotton markets. But as everyone knows, Texas is thirsty for rainfall in much of the state.
"Well the markets have improved some, and so we think our acres are going to be a little bit higher than what we first anticipated a couple of months ago, so that's a positive for us," Williams said. "The real thing we need as everyone in Texas knows we're suffering into looks like our third year of drought, and that's the biggest thing for us. We can have a lot of acres, but if you don't have a little help from mother nature you just don't make much cotton. And there's not much we can really do about that, so we have to do the things that we can do and that's try to make our business as efficient as possible and try to hunker down in these tough years, these drought years and just try to get through."
The Texas Cotton Ginners Show finished up last Friday after the two day event. Producers and ginners had the chance to hear an update on farm policy progress, risk management, and overcoming adversity. Plus they got to see new commercially available cotton products and talk to seed companies about new varieties offered.