By The Associated Press
MACON — Construction is scheduled to begin Thursday on a $6.5 million cotton gin in Noxubee County.
Bogue Chitto Gin Inc. was created by a group of 25 cotton farmers from Aliceville, Ala., and from Lowndes, Clay and Noxubee counties in Mississippi.
Rodney Mast, a member of the investment group, tells The Commercial Dispatch that the project will create four full-time jobs and 20 to 25 temporary jobs, during harvest season.
“There haven’t been any new gins built in Mississippi in a long time,” Mast said. “We have been hauling our cotton 50 to 100 miles to have it ginned. A new gin will give us a better product, as well. This will put more money back in the farmer’s pocket.”
The gin separates the leaf trash, seeds and stems from the cotton, leaving a pure product. The seeds are kept and sold for cattle feed and cooking oil.
“At one time Noxubee County was the leading cotton-producing county in the state. We’ve had a history of producing cotton,” said Dennis Reginelli, of the Mississippi State University Extension Office.
“Things changed for a while and the farmers went with soybeans. We’ve always had a few farmers who had stable cotton crops and in the early 1990s, more people started planting cotton. In the last couple of years, cotton production has really taken off, based on commodity sales. I would say there is probably about 20,000 acres of cotton in Noxubee County and south Lowndes County,” he said.
Once the cotton grows to maturity, it is harvested, usually beginning around the first of September through mid-October.