Future of Lagniappe Cotton Gin "uncertain" at this time
Thu, 12/08/2016 - 05:00
Raymond L. Daye
Cotton played a major role in Avoyelles Parish’s history, but its part in the parish’s future is uncertain due to the present market conditions.
Lagniappe Cotton Gin in Hamburg the only gin in the parish, only operated 10 days this past year. The normal operating period is about five weeks, Gin Manager Richard Vanlangendonck said.
“We are not sure about next year right now,” Vanlangendonck continued. “That 20 to 25 inches of rain we got in August damaged about 50 percent of our crop. Acreage of cotton has also been declining.”
Cotton is more “labor intensive” than many other crops, even though machinery has long replaced the long rows of laborers picking cotton by hand.
Vanlangendonck is the gin’s only full-time employee. During operation, Lagniappe has 12-15 employees.
The gin is a co-op, owned by shareholders. Many of those are local residents and farmers. There was a shareholders meeting scheduled for this past Tuesday night. Any results from that meeting were not known prior to printing this article.
Throughout most of the 20th Century there were over a dozen cotton gins in the parish. Over the years they all closed, leaving the parish with no gin.
Lagniappe opened to fill that void.