The Southern Cotton story began in 2011 with six grower friends, a Mother's Day lunch and a crazy idea. Tired of carting their cotton 400 kilometres to get ginned and spending a fortune in doing so, the group brainstormed a solution – they would build their own gin.
With up to 100 local growers also eager to use the facility, the group of six, now Southern Cotton directors, took up the challenge to build an operational $25 million gin on a greenfield site in under 12 months – securing finance, approvals and staff were just some of the issues to overcome.
The directors' hands-on approach – from meeting with other gin owners and operators to fully understand processes, and securing international suppliers of equipment, to engaging and coordinating local tradespeople and physically constructing the gin – paid off.
In June 2012, the first Southern Cotton bale was ginned. This major accomplishment was outdone when we broke a record for a first-year gin, processing over 166,000 bales.
Picture: Southern Cotton Gin General Manager Kate O'Callaghan