Hobart gin hopes to boost southwest OK cotton economy
Cotton production has really picked up in the last couple years in southwest Oklahoma, and now ginning is about to get a boost.
In February, Western Planters LLC opened a cotton gin northeast of Hobart, the product of an equal partnership between Planters Cooperative Association and Western Producers Cooperative.
Under the direction of Kenny Hahn and Mike Sawyer, respective leaders of the aforementioned co-ops, the new gin can produce about 100 bales an hour and has already turned about 10,000 bales since it started operations, a number that’s bound to shoot way up as cotton season gets underway this month.
According to Sawyer, a gin like this was much-needed in this part of the state.
“At least in our area, there has been a lack of good gins,” he said. “All of the gins were pretty old and couldn’t gin very fast.”
Gins built in the 1950s and ‘60s weren’t being maintained — and when they were, it required the operators to shut down for days or even a week at a time to get repairs done. Cost of labor and parts, plus limiting production, made for a bad scenario for producers and gins.
“People could pick cotton and haul it in way faster than we could gin it,” Sawyer said.
This led to producers’ crops sitting out in a field or at the gin for several months until it could be turned into bales for sale.