In a ceremony Monday morning, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service Cotton and Tobacco Program and Texas Tech signed an agreement that relocated a local Cotton Classing facility to the university’s campus.
Tech President Lawrence Schovanec and Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, signed the agreement at 10:30 a.m. on July 1 at 2911 15th St. at the Bayer Plant Sciences building courtyard. Afterward, they took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking of the USDA facility.
The new classifying facility will be located near the Rawls Golf Course and will house state-of-the-art technology, which can classify up to five million samples of cotton every year, said Ibach. The previous facility located at 4316 Ironton Ave. was only able to classify between three million and four million samples per year and accounted for over 20 percent of the cotton that is classed throughout the entire nation.
The partnership between Tech and the USDA AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program will allow for some great opportunities for enhancement of student education and expansion of cotton research and will provide potential job opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, Ibach said. This partnership is the first of its kind for the Cotton and Tobacco program.
Regarding the utilization of the new facility, Ibach said it is projected to be fully functioning by the cotton crop for the 2021 season.
Mike Conaway, U.S Representative for Texas District 11, said this agreement will be a template for other institutions around the country to create more partnerships with the USDA in order to create synergy to back more research.