Cotton Industry Still Recovering

Local cotton growers and processors say they anticipate lower than average yields this year, as they continue to still suffer from problems with rainfall.

It seems the West Texas Cotton Industry is still struggling to bounce back from the drought of 2011.

The Texas Ag Council was in Lubbock Wednesday to visit with various businesses within the South Plains Cotton Industry. One of those stops was Pyco Industries, a cooperative cottonseed oil mill. Pyco predicts they'll only receive half a million tons of cottonseed this year. Pre-drought, they could bring in more than a million tons from each harvest.

"Due to the drought, our receipts of cottonseed have been off," according to Pyco Vice President Ronnie Gilbert. "So, we're having another off year, if you will."

Cotton is the primary crop of the South Plains. When it does poorly, other industries do too.

"All of our products are key to this area as well," Gilbert says. "Our cottonseed meal goes to the cattle industry out here, cattle have been suffering also, we're not not seeing the numbers."

But, while there's not much cotton -- there's not much pessimism either.

"We just need a little timely rain," says Steve Verett of the South Plains Cotton Growers Association, who was on today's industry tour. "We're hopeful that with the weather we've had over the past couple of days, that maybe this is the beginning of a change in a our weather pattern."

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