Emerald cotton gin celebrates forty years
CONFIDENCE is counted in bales in Emerald, as the town's cotton gin celebrates four decades of local work.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Queensland Cotton Emerald Cotton Gin, and the pace is quickening on Springsure Road leading up to next year's ginning season.
Regional manager Rick Jones looked back on the business's origins.
"Originally they were growing cotton around here in the early '70s and then that cotton was getting taken to the gin in Rockhampton," he said.
"In 1979 when the Emerald gin opened, it was a pretty big thing."
Mr Jones said the gin was initially opened only because morale in the industry was high.
"The thing is that you need to have enough cotton to be able to justify a cotton gin, but without a gin it's harder to grow cotton locally.
"It's about having confidence that the crop's going to be successful."
And despite the drought, Mr Jones is sure things are looking up for 2020.
"The last couple of years have been pretty good.
"This year it's back to probably half the area that it would be normally, but the yields have been picking up, so we're producing about the same amount of cotton.
"We've had really good yields and really good quality."
Six permanent jobs and about 12 shifts workers are sustained at the Emerald gin, with nearly double that being hired during ginning season.
"Emerald's been a very stable area," Mr Jones said.
"There's certainly other crops coming into the area, but generally it's well suited to cotton. It'll keep going."
"Thanks to the farmers and everyone else for their support over the years. Everybody that's been here and worked with us is part of the same community."
The gin is having a celebratory dinner next week.