The Co-op Advantage®’s mission is to educate cotton growers in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas about the benefits of grower-owned cooperatives. The highlighted co-sponsor this week is PYCO Industries, Inc.
Influence, Experience, and Quality
PYCO Industries, Inc., is the largest cottonseed cooperative serving the southern United States with two cottonseed oil mills located in Lubbock, Texas. This influential co-sponsor has been in the business of cottonseed processing for more than 80 years, turning out high-quality products and maintaining valuable relationships with each of its 56 co-op gin members.
In addition to producing cottonseed oil for cooking, PYCO Industries, Inc., also markets whole cottonseed and the by-products of cottonseed processing. These valuable by-products include: cottonseed meal, cottonseed hulls, and linters. Whole cottonseed and cottonseed meal are primary nutritional ingredients in the livestock industry. Cottonseed hulls provide an excellent source of fiber in beef and dairy cattle rations. Cotton linters are utilized in the manufacturing of many products including mattresses, upholstery padding, high quality papers, and plastics.
Making Value a Priority
In 1988, when the board of directors decided to build a cottonseed oil refinery in order to compete in the food market, PYCO took a sure step into a secure future. This step helped PYCO solidify and work toward its ultimate mission: to maximize the value of one ton of cottonseed for its owners.
In upholding its own mission, PYCO also is exemplifying the seven cooperative principles, and still maintains a one-member-one-vote organization. The profits are returned to its owners according to their participation in the oil mill. The owners also build equity in the oil mill which allows PYCO to maintain modern equipment and grow.
Robert Lacy, President and CEO of PYCO has seen both sides of the cotton industry, and is a firm believer in the value of grower-owned cooperatives.
“I started my career and worked six years at an independent oil mill in Lubbock. I watched as the hard-earned money the mill made year after year was sent to the home office and bundled with the other divisions’ profits in order to pay a dividend to stockholders. I came to the co-op side in 1990, not knowing anything about it, or understanding the co-op model. After the first annual meeting where we declared the dividends and sent all of the money back into the community, I was convinced the co-op system is the way to go.”
PYCO’s goal is to pay the highest price possible for a ton of cottonseed while still maintaining a strong bottom line for the future. By being aggressive up front and returning any profits made at the end of the year, PYCO can keep its operations financially stable, as well as give its member-gins a consistently good price for their cottonseed.
PYCO is constantly striving to support its members and maintain an active presence in the community. Whether it’s attending meetings and events that are also attended by local co-op managers and farmers, or simply promoting cooperative principles and values that help the farmers remain profitable, PYCO continues to prioritize the success of its grower-owners.
Robert Lacy had this to say about the people in PYCO’s trade territory.
“I admire their faith and positive attitude. Every year they put a cotton seed into the ground and hope and pray for it to grow and make it to harvest. Sometimes they have a good crop, and sometimes it is a bad one; however, they are always expecting next year to be better. It takes a special person and a lot of faith to be a farmer, especially in this region.”