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Producing Excellence

Lisa and Gerry Kasberg

Birome, TX

Operation: Birome Gin Company

Type of Operation: Cotton ginning and compost production

Size of Operation: 16,000 bales ginned annually, 15 cubic yards of compost daily

In Business Since: 1989

Farm Credit Partner: Lone Star Ag Credit

Working with Farm Credit Since: 1991

Not many people are able to literally turn trash into cash, but cotton-gin operators Lisa and Gerry Kasberg, who own and operate Birome Gin Co. in Birome, Texas, figured out how to do just that.

Disposing of gin trash – the cotton burrs, stems and broken seeds that are left over after the seed and lint are separated from the plant – is a problem for many ginners. After previously spreading their gin trash on local farmers’ fields or selling cotton burrs as cattle feed, the Kasbergs decided to begin composting it instead. Cotton compost is a nutrient-rich soil additive that effectively breaks up clay soils, but no one was producing it yet in their central Texas region.

Using a large aerobic in-vessel composter they installed in 2007, the Kasbergs are now able to produce 15 cubic yards of compost a day, although their composting process takes several months. Today, Birome Gin is the only central Texas gin that is bagging compost. They sell in bulk and also bag and market their “Birome Gin’s Best” through garden stores in the Waco area.

“Burrs used to be a cost to the gin,” Gerry says. “When it got where they didn’t cost you, it was a big deal. Now, it’s nice to be able to make a little money off them.”

It is because of innovations like this and the Kasbergs’ experience and good business sense that the 100-year-old gin continues to thrive, according to the Kasbergs’ Texas Land Bank loan officer, Ryan Janek.

Download a PDF version of this story here.