Episode 617 - Special Episode: Cotton addthis

It’s all about cotton on this special episode of America’s Heartland. Cotton - It’s more than just a fabric. Think cattle feed. And for one spot in Texas it’s also cotton, chicken and catfish.

The Cotton Harvest
Look in your closet, and you’ll likely see how important cotton is to all our lives. Cotton production, processing and sales generate more than a hundred billion dollars a year for the U.S. economy. We’ll trace this key product from field to fabric, and learn about the surprising byproducts made from cotton.


Cotton to Yarn for Fabrics
North Carolina’s Parkdale Mills produces nearly a billion pounds of cotton yarn each year. The yarn will go into dozens of different kinds of cotton fabrics used in everything from t-shirts to dresses to bedsheets and towels.

From Cotton Seed to Cattle Feed
As part of the cotton ginning process, cotton seeds are extracted from the fibers that ultimately are made into clothing and other fabrics. We’ll see how the seeds end up in factories like Pyco Industries in Texas, where they’re squeezed for cottonseed oil. We’ll also discover how the seed hulls are turned into high-protein livestock feed.


Cotton Meal and Milk
The Kleinpeter family once raised cotton on their Louisiana farm, but today they use cotton products to help produce milk and ice cream. The Kleinpeter Farms Dairy uses cottonseed as cattle meal, and they’re very pleased with the results.


Harvesting KnowledgeCotton, Catfish & Chicken
People have been cooking with cottonseed oil since the late 1800’s. If you stop by River Smith’s restaurant in central Texas, you’ll discover some real cottonseed cooking fans. Owner Paul Corcorran says the properties of cottonseed oil make it perfect for the high-temperature deep frying needed to create the restaurant’s signature catfish and chicken dishes.

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