Texas Tech and USDA Cut Ribbon on Cotton Classification Complex | Texas Tech Today | TTU – Texas Tech University

Allen Ramsey
September 14, 2022

Texas Tech University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today (Sept. 14) cut the ribbon on a first-of-its-kind cotton classing facility on Texas Tech’s campus. 
The 30,000-square-foot facility, located across the street from The Rawls Course, is equipped with the latest automated technology and represents the first cotton classing facility located on the campus of an institution of higher education.
“Texas Tech is a world leader in cotton research, and this facility provides many opportunities for our faculty and students to advance the work that is of critical importance to this region,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. “We are proud to partner with the United States Department of Agriculture on this historic cotton classing facility, which will positively impact the cotton industry in West Texas and beyond.”
Ground was broken on the facility in 2019, with construction on the project starting in 2020. Delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues slowed progress, but the new facility is now fully operational. 
The Cotton Classification Complex has the capacity to process more than 50,000 cotton samples per day and is among the largest cotton classing facilities in the nation. According to the USDA, the 10 cotton classing facilities across the country processed just over 17 million samples in 2021, with the new facility in Lubbock expected to help boost that number. 
“This new cotton classing facility is an exciting collaboration between USDA and Texas Tech University,” said Bruce Summers, administrator for the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS). “Our partnership will serve the U.S. cotton industry by grading almost 20% of the cotton produced in the country and, at the same time, offer internship and employment opportunities to Texas Tech students and others in the Lubbock area.
“Congratulations to the AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program and the Texas Tech team, I look forward to seeing the impacts of this collaboration.”
Cotton classing facilities measure and classify cotton by its specific physical attributes, enabling the cotton to be marketed by producers and giving precise information to consumers regarding the cotton fibers.
The Cotton Classification Complex on Texas Tech’s campus will provide students and researchers with enhanced education and research opportunities in developing fiber measurement technology, automation and robotics, fiber phenomics, prototyping and calibration, and for testing of new instruments and technology.
“I’m pleased to be here today to open this new state-of-the-art cotton classification complex on the Texas Tech campus,” said Darryl W. Earnest, deputy administrator of the USDA’s AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program. “This culminates a long journey of planning, contracting and construction of the most modernized facility in the program’s fleet. 
“This facility will join our other regional locations across the U.S. in providing reliable cotton grading services to help ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. cotton industry. Congratulations to the AMS Cotton and Tobacco Program and the Texas Tech team, I look forward to seeing the impacts of this collaboration.”
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A new era of excellence is dawning at Texas Tech University as it stands on the cusp of being one of the nation’s premier research institutions.
Research and enrollment numbers are at record levels, which cement Texas Tech’s commitment to attracting and retaining quality students. In fall 2020, the university achieved a goal more than a decade in the making, reaching a total student population of more than 40,000. In 2018, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education again placed Texas Tech among its top doctoral universities in the nation in the “Very High Research Activity” category. Texas Tech is one of 94 public institutions nationally and 131 overall to achieve this prestigious recognition. 
Quality students need top-notch faculty. Texas Tech is home to a diverse, highly revered pool of educators who excel in teaching, research and service. The university strives to foster an environment that celebrates student accomplishment above all else. Texas Tech is large enough to provide the best in facilities and academics but prides itself on being able to focus on each student individually.

The momentum for excellence at Texas Tech has never been greater.
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Among other programs, the OR&I supports responsible and safe conduct of research, faculty development and recognition, interdisciplinary collaborations, externally sponsored research, partnerships with industry and community stakeholders, international research collaboration and the application of research for the benefit of society. The OR&I promotes a culture of creative expression, discovery, innovation and collaboration with the goal of advancing Texas Tech’s status as an elite national research university.


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