New cotton gin expects to open in Fall of 2019

Investors behind the Lone Star Gin LP in Gray County are looking over land and preparing for construction to start in a few months (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A surplus of cotton production in the Texas Panhandle and in Oklahoma has prompted a group of investors to have a new cotton gin built. The proposed site is five miles south of Pampa west of HWY 70 in Gray County.

“We like the Pampa location because it will allow us to move into new trade areas,” said Mike Friemel, board chairman with Lone Star Gin LP. “We can go to Wellington and to Wheeler and tap into Oklahoma so it’s an ideal location for us.”

There are more than 75 investors with Lone Star Gin LP. More gins are needed in the Texas Panhandle due to a number of reasons.

“We can’t sell our cotton until it’s been processed, ” said Friemel. “The cotton has to be classes and until then we can sell it so until its ginner we can’t sell our cotton. That’s the reason we need a gin in this area.”

“The main reason is because of the increase north of I-40,” said Carey McKinney, gin manager. “What has happened is more farmers who are traditionally growing corn, wheat and milo have started rotating to cotton. It’s become profitable deal to them. We just see a need to get it processed faster.”

Once the new gin is operational it will process irrigated and dry land cotton. The new facility is projected to handle more than 1000,000 bails a year with room to expand operations in the near future. The expansion of the facility is pending the projected cotton crop forecast for 2019.

“The new cotton gin is being built with room to expand,” said Friemel. “We may build a whole plant and if we do that it will be $24 million.”

Due to the larger horsepower needed to run the facility. Lone Star Gin LP is connecting into an Xcel Energy substation on the south side of Pampa. A lease purchase was signed on Wednesday between the city of Pampa and Lone Star Gin LP for five years. If employment requirements are met and upgrades completed in time to the 640 acres Lone Star Gin LP will take over the land in five years. The new cotton gin is expected to employ five to six full time employees and will provide another 30 to 40 jobs during the ginning season.

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