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City Gin manager sums up 2022 as devastating

Drought and a record number of failed acres left cotton infrastructure with little to no volume and therefore, drastically reduced income. One ginner talks about the worst season of his 50-year career.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

April 26, 2023

2 Min Read
city gin eugene crumpler grandson trade show
City Gin Manager and Co-owner Eugene Crumpler Jr., with his grandson Maverick Crumpler at the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trade Show, Lubbock. Maverick had fun “trying out” the tractors parked outside the exhibit hall. Shelley E. Huguley

In his 50 years of ginning cotton, Eugene Crumpler, Jr. describes 2022 as “devastating,” the worst year he’s witnessed in his career at City Gin, Abernathy, Texas.  

A persisting drought coupled with triple-digit temperatures resulted in a record number of abandoned Southwest cotton acres in 2022—71%, according to USDA’s Cotton Outlook – leaving infrastructure with less and in some cases no cotton to gin. 

Rather than ginning 40,000 to 60,000 bales, Crumpler, a second-generation ginner, said City Gin only ginned a fraction of their average. 

“We’ve got to have rain and the markets and we don’t have any of them,” he told Farm Press at the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trade Show, Lubbock.  

Crumpler, who manages and co-owns City Gin, anticipates 2023 won’t be much different. “We’ve got so much wheat planted right now and with wheat, beans and everything else up and cotton markets down, it’s going to be another devastating year for us. I believe it will be a duplicate of what we just saw in 2022. Maybe worse. Everyone I’ve talked to, believes we’re all in the same boat.” 

City Gin is an independent, farmer-owned gin with 21 members. Crumpler’s father managed the gin from 1971 to 2006, when Eugene took over. “We used to have seven gins in this 5-mile area. Now, I’m the only one left.” Crumpler credits being debt-free and taking care of the producer as the keys to their success. 

Related:Cotton infrastructure suffers devastating losses in 22

What worries him is the water situation in his area. “Our water table's running out. We're mostly dryland, semi-irrigated. It's so expensive and with 70 cent cotton, you just can't grow it for that.” 

Survival strategies 

Crumpler said 2023 will be about survival. “Hope for the best and hope the markets get up where these guys will have an interest to plant. They don’t even have an interest in planting cotton because they can’t grow it for 70 to 80 cents.  

“And we’ve still got cotton. We have bales that aren’t sold, and we’ve talked to a lot of people in the industry who are in the same boat. There’s a lot of cottonseed still in barns because the dairies aren’t buying the seed and California got out of the markets. It’s like it stalled out.” 

Crumpler, who also co-owns and manages City Gin Cotton Warehouse, said it’s been a “crazy year,” there as well. “We didn’t start shipping cotton until about a month ago. We had a lot sold but they just weren’t picking it up. It’s tough.” 

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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