While most know that El Paso is home to the Chihuahuas, the Miners, home to “Chico’s Tacos,” one thing that most El Pasoans may not know is that El Paso County is also the largest Pima (Extra Long Staple) Cotton producing county in the State of Texas.
Cotton harvest in El Paso County normally starts in October and will continue into December, sometimes into January. Some of the finest Pima (Extra Long Staple) Cotton is produced in this region according to most cotton experts.
Gil Jones, General Manager of the Valley Gin Company in Tornillo, estimates that he will gin 40,000 bales of cotton this season. A bale of ginned cotton will weigh an average of 500 lbs., which should put the overall output from the average about 20 million pounds of cotton this season.
The El Paso Region is second to only California in terms of Pima Cotton acreage and production. El Paso County farmers have consistently out produced the States of New Mexico and Arizona in Pima Cotton.
El Paso County farmers also produce Upland (Short Staple) Cotton, commonly referred to as “Chapo.”
A common misconception is that “Short” (Chapo) cotton refers to the plant size, but in reality “short” refers to the fiber length or staple.
El Paso County farmers have a history of high production when it comes to Upland (Short Staple) Cotton as well.
Author: Orlando Flores – County Extension Agent; Agriculture & Natural Resources – Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service – El Paso County