LUBBOCK, Texas – The cotton crop in 2022 has proven to be one of the worst in history, and local cotton gins said they are feeling the loss.
Both Meadow and Ropes Farmers Co-Op Gins are hoping for the best, but even the best they said they can do is reach a small percentage of the cotton they ginned last year.
General manager for Meadow’s Co-Op, Dan Jackson said, “This potentially will be the worst crop in Texas history since the late 1800s probably.”
Multiple farm reports show this year’s cotton production will be down by $2 billion.
Jackson said that an average crop for them is between 28,000 and 35,000 bales. However, this year, they’re looking at maybe 3,000 to 5,000. This is around ten percent of what they processed last year.
About six miles north in Ropes, the numbers don’t get much better.
General manager Brian Lehrmann explained, “Our co-op is probably an 85,000 average bale gin. Last year, we ginned just shy of 100,000 bales.” He said this year, they’re expecting 5000 to 6000 bales, which is about five percent of what they did last year.
Lehrmann said they’ve struggled to pay their full-time employees, which isn’t something they’ve had to think much about before.
“It is tough when you go from highs and lows to be able to manage that situation to make sure that you keep the people that you have,” he explained.
The two co-ops combined have over 300 members that work with them to make a profit. Unfortunately, because of the drought, this was not the best year for farmers. However, if there’s one thing about West Texas farmers, it’s that setbacks won’t make them lose their grit or willingness to push on.
Jackson added to that, “We have the best producers in the world, I think in West Texas, and they do a phenomenal job, they kind of roll with the punches as it were.”
Lehrmann had the same thought, and said they are all mentally tough. “We’re going to get through this.”
Cotton harvest will take place in late October-early November. To have a good crop next year, farmers said it starts in the winter. So, they’re all hoping for good snow in the future months and any other moisture to get in the ground early.