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Mini Cotton Gin To Enhance Teaching
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi State University dedicated a miniature cotton gin in late May that will help both students and researchers in their study of cotton.
The fully-operational machine has clear plexiglass sides that allow viewers to watch the flow of cotton through the foot- wide gin. The cotton gin lacks a drier on the front and a press on the back to be like a commercial gin facility. It is housed in one room of the Pace Seed Lab.
The mini gin will be used to strengthen the Gin Management and Technology emphasis in MSU's Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business major.
Jerry Gilbert, head of MSU's Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, said work began three years ago to create a demonstration gin with internal operations that can be viewed. Eugene Columbus, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station agricultural engineer, supervised the project.
"It will be a tremendous teaching aid and research tool that our students will have available to them on campus in a laboratory or lecture setting," Gilbert said. "They can have direct contact with a full-size gin and from that experience, become more familiar with ginning without having to leave campus."
Gilbert also praised the gin's ability to accommodate producers' and industry's needs by processing cotton samples too small for a commercial cotton gin to process.
The Southern Cotton Ginners Association was one of the projects financial supporters. Lee Todd, executive vice president of the association, was present at the dedication and said his organization has a vital interest in the success of the program.
"This year we anticipate a 19 million bale crop that we will gin with about 1,000 gins throughout the Cotton Belt," Todd said. "We need to have trained personnel to run this equipment, and we must continually upgrade the educational level of the gin operators."
Vance Watson, MAFES director, called the gin a successful partnership between the Experiment Station, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and industry.
"We wanted a gin that we could all be proud of and that can be used for research and development," Watson said. "No other university facility in the world has a gin like this."
Tim Burcham, faculty advisor for students in the Gin Management and Technology emphasis, said the cotton gin is a great tool that takes MSU's education a step further by offering an experience not available anywhere else.
"Technical and business knowledge are necessary to operate in this industry," Burcham said. "What we're really going to be producing is graduates who will serve the state of Mississippi and make us all proud."
The cotton gin is part of the seed processing equipment in MAFES. It will be operated under the direction of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department. Academic instruction involving its use will be handled by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Contact: Dr. Jerry Gilbert, (662) 325-3280