Kansas farmers look to bright future in cotton

CULLISON, Kan. (KSNW) – As grain prices continue to fall, some Kansas farmers have turned to an alternative crop, cotton.

“I raise irrigated corn and wheat and cotton, and the only thing that’s really raised a lot of money this year is cotton,” said Next Gineration Inc. General Manager Roger Sewell.

Roger Sewell has been working in the cotton industry for about 12 years.

“It’s been a good ride,” Sewell said.

Sewell admits the ride has been bumpy at times, but has been worth it.

“It’s exciting when you take something that has been run down, was about to go away, to make it a viable operating business again,” he said.

In November of 2016, Sewell and several partners bought what once was High Plains Cotton and turned it into Next Gineration Inc. Since the purchase, Sewell and his crews have been hard at work, ginning what Sewell expects to be the second largest cotton yield in the facility’s history.

“It’s been a really good harvest. Yields have been fantastic, the grades have been fantastic and next year we hope it’s even better,” Sewell said.

Last year, Sewell said his facility ginned about 4,000 bales of cotton. This year, his crews are on track to gin about 20,000 bales.

“It means another alternative crop that you can fit in your rotation and make it profitable,” he said.

In a farming economic downturn, it seems Sewell has found a bright, white future.

“It feels good, makes you feel good. You could be wearing Kansas cotton,” Sewell said.

Sewell said there are a number of factors that have made this year’s cotton yields so much better than years past including rain in July, new equipment, new herbicides and new varieties of cotton.

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