Slim pickings for local cotton ginners


Business has roared to life at the Kiech-Shauver-Miller Gin Company in Monette.

In cotton country, production of this "white gold" is down 40% from last year.

Maleisa Finch says there aren't as many cotton fields in the delta this year, and therefore not as much money to go around.

"You start to see small gins, and even larger gins, maybe make decisions not to run this year."

A typical cotton gin can give 20 to 30 people seasonal work.

Without these local jobs, the economy starts to suffer.

"When you look at these smaller towns, when your gin's not running or your implement businesses are not running, you start to see these small towns start closing down."

It's a sign of the times...a warehouse normally filled to the brim with cotton is now at its emptiest since the early '90s.

"This year is the first year that I have not operated our bale warehouse. We normally store our cotton."

However, there's some promising chatter from the field.

Despite the shrinking number of Arkansas cotton fields, ginners are turning impressive numbers.

This season, some cotton in the delta is pushing a yield near 1,000 pounds per acre, the 3rd highest on record.

"I don't think we're going to see anything off the charts this year, but I'm very pleased with what I'm seeing right now for what this crop has been through."

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