Cotton Gin pic1

Humphrey Coker Seed Company co-owner Keith Gill (right) and Marketing and Public Relations Manager Bill Trado stand in front of a huge hole in the back of the gin. The area is being prepared to accept new pipes that will create a more efficient ginning process. 

Photo by Michaele Duke

There’s a new sign on the cotton gin located just south of Kingstree. Humphrey Coker Seed Company​ owners D. Brown and ​Keith Gill purchased the Tri-Cotton and Gin facility in April and have been busy upgrading the equipment to be more efficient. 

Gill, a Georgia native, has been in the ginning business for 25 years. Partner, D. Brown is a native of Hartsville and has been a part of Humphrey Coker Seed Company for 10 years. Gill is also co-owner and founder of McCleskey Saw and Machine, which provides gin services and equipment throughout the world. He has been working on streamlining the ginning process throughout his career. 

Cotton Gin pic2

Bob Shinta works on a cyclone at the Humphrey Coker Seed Company. The main purpose of a cyclone is to collect the trash and dust which results from the cleaning, conveying, and drying processes at the gin. 

Photo by Michaele Duke

The big change is the new equipment that will benefit the farmer. More important, Marketing and Public Relations Manager Bill Trado said the updates would provide new marketing options. “It’s moving from gin-direct to offering various marketing techniques to improve the bottom line for the farmer.” 

From October to December cotton ginning is in full swing. Upgrades will include new lint cleaners, battery condenser, and new moisture controls. ​These updates will improve the turnout of lint to the grower and improve the efficiency of the operation. 

While facing the fact that, along with falling prices, cotton planting in Williamsburg County dropped from 24,000 acres to 7,000 in one year. Add the introduction of COVID-19, which resulted in a cut in the demand for cotton related garments, the decision to invest in the gin still made sense. “We decided to stay with it because it’s going to come back,” said Gill.​ “The price of cotton has moved up some during the last two months but the demand for cotton will have to improve before prices get back to a good level.” 

Trado agrees that the upgrades will benefit the farmer. “The bottom line is, the farmers are out there working so hard all season long, have all kind of obstacles in their way, so it’s nice to know that they will have a premier gin to take their cotton so we can process it for them,” said Trado. “The better the gin runs, the more profitable the farmer can be. And that’s the bottom line for the farmer.”