Cotton harvest is starting in Oklahoma. Moving from the southwestern counties northward, some gins are running two shifts ginning constantly and others are just beginning to get under way.

In Jackson County, Lynn Scalf, manager of the Farmers Cooperative gin at Martha, reports he has two crews working 12 hour shifts back to back processing a lot of cotton.

"We have ginned 10,000 bales to date," he said. "We have been ginning for two and a half weeks now and have about 180 cotton modules on the yard waiting to be ginned. We ginned 23,000 bales last year."

"As most people know, prices paid for cotton are really high this year," Scalf said. "I understand some sold recently for $1.30 per pound. There is a high demand for US cotton around the world right now."

Many of the farmer-owned cooperatives in Oklahoma, North Texas and Kansas belong to the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association in Lubbock, Texas, which sells cotton in a marketing pool to obtain the best price available.

Jay Cowart, PCCA director of warehouse operations, says farmers make a personal choice in marketing their cotton.

This year, Cowart points out, is one of those "once in a lifetime situations," when the amount of available cotton worldwide is very small and with a world economy beginning to recover, cotton demand is high.