Texas Tech and USDA break ground on new cotton classing facility

Texas Tech and USDA break ground on new cotton classing facility

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Cotton is king in West Texas, and leaders from across the area want to make sure it stays that way.

In partnership with the USDA, Texas Tech is building a new cotton classing facility on campus.

Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and USDA Secretary Greg Ibach signed the deal to begin construction on the state-of-the-art facility.

Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington said this investment is a win for everyone involved: The cotton farmers, the USDA, and the university.

"The ripple effect of the success of this partnership affects all aspects of agriculture, education, and research. In terms of attracting students, these things matter," Rep. Arrington said.

The president of Plains Cotton Growers, Stacy Smith, said this partnership between Tech and the USDA will help keep the future for cotton bright in West Texas. 

"Anytime that you look at a business, whether it's the cotton industry or any kind of business that we talk about, you're always concerned about the future because that's how the business grows. We have a tremendous history of cotton here, but it's only going to continue if we do things to preserve the future," Smith said.

The former chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Mike Conaway, was one of the main voices to bring cotton into the farm bill safety net.

He said that made this day possible, but there is still work to do, especially with the USMCA and China trade negotiations.

"It is a big deal to keep our cotton farmers in the fight, and it is a fight. We've got competition and fair competition from around the world, but unfair competition as well. It's really that unfair competition that we're really trying to underwrite our cotton farmers," Rep. Conaway said.

The target date for the completion of the facility is spring 2021.

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