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Lyford Cotton Gin for Sale

Photo: Billy Watson/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

One of the oldest cotton gins in the Rio Grande Valley is for sale.

And it’s the one in Lyford.

The small community in Willacy County is in a geographical area of the Rio Grande where agriculture still is the livelihood of many of its residents.

The gin, which first opened in 1938, has been processing millions of bales of cotton and storing mostly grain sorghum and sesame seeds for decades.

But a decline in cotton farming and production, for that matter, has led management and its ownership to sell the plant that created the most jobs in this area.

Gerald Miligan, general manager for the last 19 years for the Lyford Gin Association, said king cotton has been decimated by years of drought even though a couple of deluges happened in the last five years.

“Whenever you don’t make a crop there is no business here,” he said. “The cotton industry has been hit in the last ten years. We are now trying to sell the gin and the land.”

Depending how a season is, the gin has been closing and opening on and off to the point of becoming unprofitable to stay in business.

The gin complex included three grain storage silos but were sold to Mexican investors a little while back.

During the cotton season an average of 30 people, or 15 per shift, were employed.

But at the peak of the industry decades ago, up to 70 used to work at the gin and silos.

Today Miligan and another office work at the gin until a buyer comes up with an offer.

Cotton gins have been on a decline over the years.

About 10 gins remain open today, compared to about 50 five decades ago.

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