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Ginning Lab Invites Public to 50th Anniversary Dec. 15

LAS CRUCES -- An open house and public program Dec. 15, will highlight 50th anniversary events for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory.


The lab, located at 300 E. College Drive on the edge of the New Mexico State University campus, is one of just three USDA ginning research centers in the country, along with centers in Stoneville, Miss., and Lubbock, Texas.

Research in Las Cruces focuses on the needs of irrigated cotton growers and ginners in the Southwest. The region is known for producing high-quality Acala 1517 and extra-long staple Pima cottons.

The lab is responsible for a number of ginning innovations. Its new lint feeding mechanism that's gentler on cotton fiber is being used in gins for the first time this year. The design, funded by Cotton Inc. research, is part of Lummus Corporation's new Sentinel lint cleaner.

Other projects at the lab include finding ways to reduce gin emissions and testing fiber quality of new cotton varieties.

Fifty years ago, 300 visitors and a number of dignitaries attended the facilities dedication.

A half-century later, the lab will have an open house with displays, tours, speakers, and refreshments. The open house will be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. "We want people to come out and wander through," said Ed Hughs, engineer and research leader for the lab. "Our staff will be here to answer questions and show people things."

At 2 p.m., guest presenters will speak as part of the formal program. Those scheduled to attend include Miley Gonzalez, USDA under secretary; John Owens, NMSU executive vice president; Ed Knipling, associate administrator with the Agricultural Research Service; and Charles Owens, past president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

The event is free and open to the public.

"You don't need an invitation, and you don't have to be a farmer to come," Hughs said. "We'd love to have everyone."

For details about the event, call (505)526-6381.