Construction continues on the Lonestar Gin, Pampa, Texas. The gin hosted its open house Sept. 25 to show off its state-of-the-art ginning technology and capacity for Panhandle cotton growers. (Photo courtesy of Lonestar Gin.)

There’s a new gin in the Panhandle to help handle the cotton boom. Lonestar Gin cut the ribbon on its new state of the art facility just outside of Pampa, Texas, Sept. 25.

Gin Manager Carey McKinney said the gin was needed because of the larger cotton crops grown in the region north of Interstate 40.

“The need is there, just due to the larger crops,” he said. “We should be able to process 125,000 to 150,000 bales a year. And that’s estimated based on the production of the cotton in the area that’s had to move out of the area to be processed because there just wasn’t the capacity.”

There’s been a 120% increase in High Plains cotton production since 2017. That comes down to real dollars leaving the Pampa economy if the Lonestar Gin wasn’t now a reality. According to news reports from Pampa Radio, the gin will pull cotton from the Pampa, White Deer, Panhandle and Groom, Texas, communities, as well as some Oklahoma cotton

“We have a full section, 640 acres, for cotton modules,” McKinney said. He added that in a predicted 125,000-lint bale run, the logistics of bringing raw cotton in and cotton bales and other byproducts out of the gin means there’s about 14,000 truckloads of material going in and out of the facility each year.

“We’ll employ 50-60 at harvest,” McKinney said.

The $20 million gin has advancements to improve efficiency.

“Pretty much anything that’s been developed in advanced technology is in this gin” McKinney said. “There’s advanced technology in the drying, the heat controls the ability to restore moisture back into the bales.” There’s even a state-of-the-art leaf grade monitor system.

And, because the gin wanted to be a good neighbor, McKinney said it put in $300,000 of additional air pollution controls above and beyond the state of Texas requirements.

“For fire suppression, throughout the gin plant we have close to 200 fire sensors throughout the plant,” McKinney said. “That helps us detect fire quickly. It’s way beyond what’s required.”

One item of interest is that the land that Lonestar Gin sits on was purchased from the City of Pampa, and it’s the city’s water field with the city’s well on the property. McKinney said there’s been a very good relationship with the city in the course of building this new cotton gin.

About 300 people attended the gin’s open house, and McKinney was very surprised and please with the turnout from the gin’s new neighbors.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or jlatzke@hpj.com.

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