CARNEGIE, OK (KSWO) - Construction is underway on a $3.3 million cotton gin just north of Carnegie.
The new cotton gin will replace the town's current cotton gin that sits right in the middle of town. Thursday, the Carnegie Farmers Co-Op held a construction kick-off event for the gin, that is expected to be completed and in operation by November 1, 2017.
Currently, the cotton gin sits right in the middle of Carnegie, right near several homes, the school and just right down the road from the hospital. That's why construction has already begun on the new cotton gin about 4.5 miles north of Carnegie. Not only did it move the gin outside of town, but it's also expected to nearly double their productivity
"It is a 45 bail an hour cotton gin, which is going to increase our capacity from 21 to 25 up to the 45 with capabilities of moving up to 60 bales an hour," said Farmer's Co-Op Mill and Elevator General Manager Tom Steinmetz.
Cotton Gin Manager Jeannie Hileman said on its own, the increased capacity will be extremely beneficial for cotton farmers in Oklahoma.
"There were days when someone would call a module in last year that I was 80 days behind as far as getting it ginned," Hileman said. "To speed up the capacity of getting the cotton ginned is going to be huge for them. They get their money in their pocket much quicker."
In addition to helping farmers all over the area, Steinmetz said moving the gin outside of town will also be huge for those living in Carnegie.
"We throw an awful lot of dust and emissions, it's kind of a dirty process. As far as the air quality of Carnegie, us moving out of Carnegie, that will help with that," Steinmetz said.
While they did want to move out of Carnegie, Steinmetz said they always wanted to stay close by.
"We are the Carnegie Farmer's Co-op and we support Carnegie. That's why it was still important for us to stay close to town, yet far enough out of town that we're not having those environmental issues," Steinmetz said.
The project would usually cost about $10 million, but most of the parts are being bought used so it should only cost about $3.5 million. Hileman said a new gin of any price being put up these days is very rare.
"The last one that was built was in 1998 was in Blackwell Oklahoma. It's a huge undertaking expense wise and it doesn't happen very often so we're excited," Hileman said.
Once the new cotton gin is fully operational, the old one here in the middle of town will be torn down. Hileman said in the future they will only be running the new gin, but for this year, both gins will be in use. She said they will be hiring people to work on the new gin and that all of the employees currently working on the old gin will have the opportunity to continue on at the new one.