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O’Donnell Gin receives historical marker

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Woolam Gin in O’Donnell has received a historical marker for pioneering organic cotton. They are currently the largest producer in the country.

Thirty-two years ago, a Tech professor and a local farmer asked gin owner Tommy Woolam to dare to be different, making them the first to produce the global organic textile standard.

Woolam said it’s challenging to produce cotton without fertilizers, but it was a big step for women’s health, as organic cotton is used in many feminine hygiene products.

“What woman must put chemicals in her body? That was the important part,” Woolam said. “We’ve got a lot of organic out there today.”

The price is rising as demand for organic grows. Now selling for over $2 and the seed is nearly double, going into organic dairy products. Woolam’s is likely to be the only organic gin in Texas that will continue to operate in March.

“The organic cotton must wait until the freeze hits, they cannot defoliate so therefore it’s always last. And that gives us time to get most of the conventional cotton done, and then pick up at the tail end on organic,” Woolam said.

The 73-year-old cotton gin has come a long way from their experimental phase, now producing nearly 40 bales an hour and becoming a one of a kind economic driver for the town of O’Donnell.

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