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Texas Cotton Ginning Tradition

By Jayci Cave

LAKEVIEW CO-OP GIN, ONE OF THE OLDEST CO-OPS IN TEXAS, was established in 1929 and has a history all its own. As an active business in the community, Dusty Byars, Lakeview Co-op Gin Manager, said they try to give back whenever possible.

“We are really active in both the Hall and Donley County Stock Shows,” Byars said. “Wherever our producers are, we try to support the kids at the stock shows. We also volunteer at the school to help clean up for events like homecoming, and we support the sports programs at Memphis, Texas. We also try to help out the local fire department.”

Dusty Byars

Dusty Byars

One Lakeview grower-owner, Everett Williams, recently took a step back after 46 years of farming. He has been married to his wife, Gladys, for 52 years, and together, after moving to Texas from Missouri, they have built a life and a family in Memphis, Texas. Gladys was a teacher for 33 years; however, Williams said she helped him a lot on the farm.

“She could drive a tractor as good as any farmer in Hall County,” Byars said of Gladys, “and drive a combine better than anybody in the county. She also taught my kids when they were in school.” Williams said in farming both family support and hard work are important parts of being successful.

“We have had a lot of tough times during the years, especially during the 1980s,” Williams said. “It was awful bad. The only way I survived was to work more and try to find something else to do to make a little extra money. The only thing I know to say is to work hard and don’t give up.” Williams said he enjoys being a member of the co-op gin because it helps the individual farmers’ operations.

Everett Williams

Everett Williams

“I feel like they have helped us get better revenue from our crop, from the cotton especially as they have kept the gin costs down,” Williams said. Byars said he enjoys working for a co-op and seeing the farmers work together for a common goal.

“The biggest part is trying to do a good job ginning their cotton and making sure the gin is doing all it
can do,” Byars said. “The reason farmers should be members of the gin is in the end the money comes back around to them. The more members we get with us the more money we usually generate and the more money we get to return to them. There is going to be a day and time that we all need each other. To me it is easier to get along than it is to not get along.”