USDA announced on Tuesday the establishment of a cooperative agreement between its Agricultural Marketing Service’s Cotton and Tobacco Program (C&T) and Texas Tech University to construct, own, and operate a cotton classing facility located on the University’s campus in Lubbock, Texas.
This partnership will foster opportunities for Texas Tech and other universities to learn more about cotton fiber measurement and grading operations by having direct access to the facility in a learning and teaching environment. As one of the largest cotton classing offices in the world, Lubbock typically classifies three-to-four million cotton samples annually. The new state-of-the-art facility, in its more prominent and centralized location, will be a flagship facility for the C&T program.
To formalize the agreement, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach participated in a signing ceremony and groundbreaking held July 1, 2019, at the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock, Texas. Congressman Mike Conaway and Congressman Jodey Arrington also participated in the July 1 event.
“This cooperative agreement is the first of its kind for USDA’s Cotton and Tobacco program, and we hope to pursue similar partnerships in other regions of the country where cotton classing is an important part of the local economy,” explained Ibach. “In addition to this partnership with Texas Tech, this facility will promote efficiency and cost-effectiveness through its unique design, operation, energy conservation, and positive return-on-investment to USDA and its stakeholders.”
“Special thanks to Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, Chancellor Tedd Mitchell, former Chancellor Robert Duncan, Chief of Staff Kristina Butts, Dean of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Bill Brown, and many others from the University’s administration and faculty for their commitment and support of this partnership,” said Under Secretary Ibach.
The agreement provides a model for collaboration between USDA and the University to cultivate a long-standing partnership that will benefit the Lubbock area cotton industry, the university, the surrounding community, and the U.S. cotton industry.