Approximately 35-40 business and community leaders along with the Levelland FFA Chapter Officers from Levelland High School took part in the Hands that Clothe and Feed You Tour which was organized and held yesterday by the Levelland Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee. The tour began at United Cotton Growers which is a Co-Op owned by an estimated 550 growers and agriculture producers. The gin has a 9 member board and processes and average of 100 thousand bales of cotton each year. They process the cotton one module at a time and follow it all the way to the final stage which compresses the cotton into 500 lb bales and labels it with an ID which can trace that bale all the way back to the field and grower. The gin is capable of processing 80 bales of cotton per hour with a goal of 10 thousand bales per week. It was pointed out that every part of the cotton can be used. The burr and trash removed from the cotton in the initial phase of processing is ground and fed at feedlots. The cotton seed is sold partly to be used as a very high quality high protein feed in the dairy industy. Part of the seed is also sold to Pyco Plains in Lubbock to make Cottonseed Oil. Part of the cotton is also used to make dollar bills and of course the final product is sold to make clothing.
The next stop on the tour was the Diamond Ethanol plant on east Highway 114. The plant processes 140 thousand gallons of ethanol per day and also handles 42 thousand pounds of milo or corn per day. The plant is able to use either corn or milo to make the ethanol. The plant buys milo from local growers and growers from this region. The plant sells most of the wet feed, a bi product of the ethanol to area dairy’s and feedlots in this area including Hereford, Littlefield and Eastern New Mexico. The grain is processed and carried from one of the bins to a grinder and continues through the processing facility and finally over a large overhead conveyer system to the final processing stage. The plant ships out an average of 14 truck loads of ethanol daily to stations within a 300 mile radius.
The next stop was the Clint Williams Peanut Plant located on Hulen Moreland Road just off of 114 in Levelland. The plant acts as a buying point for growers in this area. It is one of 5 buying points, all part of the Clint Williams plant which is based out of Medil, OK. It was pointed out that the drought of the previous years has affected the peanut crop substantially. The plant employs 25-50 employees and currently has 28 employees locally.
The tour than proceeded to the Farmers Coop. The group was shown the 3 new elevator legs which were installed just last year at the facility which amounted to an investment of $750,000. Dean Sasser, the manager of the local facility said they have processed thus far this year more milo than they did all of last year. Processing 125 Million pounds of milo so far this year and 770 thousand bushels of corn have also been processed by the local facility. It was noted that all of the corn is stored at the Littlefield facility. They also pointed out a partnership with the Diamond Ethanol plant where growers can actually sell milo by the truck load at the local ethanol facility. The coop employees 18 employees full time and at peak times employs as many as 30 employees.
The tour wrapped up at the All Tex Seed Dyna Gro facility where participants learned about the strict guidelines each cotton seed must adhere to and the testing process each truck load of seeds goes through to make sure it is the seed which it is advertised to be and to make sure it has the proper gene. The facility markets seed for All Tex Seed and Dyna Gro and can do Custom orders upon request.