Gavilon stockpiles cottonseed near Altus
Historically, people living in farm country are used to seeing wheat delivered and stored at grain terminals in the spring, and cotton delivered to gins in the fall months, with typical byproducts like cottonseed nearby.
If you have traveled to Altus on U.S. 62 recently, it was easy to see the unexpected in this case, huge piles of cottonseed deposited along Gavilon Grain's driveway east of Altus.
Brand Bryer, manager of this Gavilon location, said the explanation is easy to understand.
"Gavilon Grain is a large corporation," he said. "In this case, we bought 50,000 tons of cottonseed from local cotton gins in a 60-mile radius around here. Purpose of buying so much cottonseed is to ship it to another Gavilon location in California. It will be sold to dairy farmers there to feed their cows."
The Jackson County grain terminal Bryer manages was built in 2010. It has a circular railroad track built around the five-story terminal on which a set of 110 grain cars can be filled in less than one business day. It is this same set of tracks where rail cars will be filled with cottonseed for shipment to California, he said.
Once ConAgra, the company was bought by a group of investors, renamed Gavilon Grain and developed into an international grain and agriculture commodity corporation, Bryer said.
One other similar set of circular rail tracks is located in Jackson County. At Eldorado in the far southwest corner of the county, the local farmers cooperative built the system to better facilitate shipment of wheat from its terminal.
Wheat acreage in the United States is the second lowest since 1913, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture crop reports released this week.
Winter wheat acres were estimated at 36.6 million, down 7 percent from last year and 14 percent from 2014.