This week we took a tour of the Moore county gin for my school field trip! A lady named Paula Nusz gave my friends and me a tour of the whole place. It was really cool to be surrounded by so much cotton.

She told us tons of facts about the gin! The Moore county gin is one of the largest in the U.S. in terms of production. Their capacity is 60 bales of cotton per hour. Last year all together they made 92,000 bales. This year they expect 100,000 bales.

They even raise some of their own and it's called stripper cotton. She took us to the field and pulled one stalk so we could feel the different parts of the plant. At one point in the tour we got to taste the seeds. That's the way the dairy farmers decide if they want to give it to their cattle. She said that in China people eat the seeds but I prefer the salty sunflower seeds.

She said they have found some really weird stuff inside the cotton that came from the fields like cell phones, tools, wedding rings and a lot of other stuff. Sometimes this stuff gets into the machinery and they have to shut down to fix it.

When we went back to the office we met Shelly Lawrence who is their marketer. She said every bale of cotton in the United States gets a tracking number so they can know where each came from and where it is going. Some of the bales even go to China ! Each bale is graded for things like color, amount of trash, density, uniformity and strength of the fibers. Even with all the different grades most of the things we use are made of cotton like clothes, shoes, money and even disposable diapers.

They let us take samples as we went so I picked up some seeds. I can't wait until spring to see if we can make the plants grow in my backyard.