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September-ribbon-cutting set for new cotton classification complex

USDA to celebrate the opening of its state-of-the-art, fully automated cotton classification complex in Lubbock, Texas.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

August 22, 2022

2 Min Read
Darryl Earnest, USDA AMS Cotton & Tobacco deputy administer, center, during the construction of the USDA Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex. The complex is complete and will hold its ribbon-cutting Sept. 14. Shelley E. Huguley

The USDA Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception at 10 a.m. on Sept. 14 celebrating the opening of its state-of-the-art facility located on Texas Tech University campus. 

The 30,000-square foot complex, located across from the Rawls Golf Course, will open its doors for small group tours following the outdoor ceremony.  

“We couldn’t be more excited about celebrating the completion of the new USDA Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex.  It’s been a long process challenged by COVID and continuing supply chain issues, but it is officially ready to class this year’s cotton crop.  We are fine-tuning our equipment and systems now as we move closer to the live season,” says Darryl Earnest, USDA AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program deputy administrator. 

USDA and Texas Tech personnel first broke ground on the facility in July 2019. The new complex is equipped with the latest automated cotton classification technology, processing up to 50,000 to 60,000 samples per day, Earnest says.  

National Cotton Council President and CEO Gary Adams said data generated by the new state-of-the-art facility will benefit both producers and U.S. cotton clients. 

"The level of detail provided is another step forward that will continue to provide quality information that producers rely on for marketing their crop, but also for our customers because we want U.S. cotton to continue to be the preferred fiber." 

USDA has 10 cotton classification labs located throughout the Cotton Belt. Adams describes USDA's classing system as the gold standard. "We class every bale, unlike any other country in the world." Last year, they classed 17.1 million cotton samples.  

The USDA Lubbock Cotton Classification Complex is located at 120 Texas Tech Parkway. To learn more about the complex, its progress and features, click on the following links: 


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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