The gin started out with two Cherokee 174 gin stands. In late October, a Cherokee Magnum 244 was added to the configuration. They liked the Magnum 244 so much they decided to replace one of the 174s with another Magnum 244, which will be available for the 2012 cotton harvest.

“There was nothing wrong with the 174s, let me make that clear,” Finch said. “But the Magnum 244s were really nice.”

“It’s just smooth,” Couch said. “It’s the volume that it will handle. It never changes, even when we get into wet cotton. Within an hour of cranking it up for the first time, everybody knew what kind of a job it was going to do.”

The new gin upped the speed from 28 bales an hour to 55 bales an hour, which has had numerous advantages for the gin’s customers. “Instead of being finished in December, we can finish up in November. Our customers can make better marketing decisions and do a better job of planning for the next crop,” Finch said.”

Despite the higher speed, there was no dropoff in quality with the new gin. “You hear so much about quality in high speed gins,” Finch said. “But we were able to maintain it. In fact, we ended up with a premium of almost $20 a bale across the board. Allenberg Cotton Co., who we’ve dealt with exclusively since 1992, had always told us then that they loved the cotton that came out of the old gin. They were impressed with the grades of the new gin too.”

In 2011, the new gin ginned 42,158 bales, a slight increase over the year before. The gin facility also has two seed houses, with 12,000 tons of capacity and cotton bale warehouses which hold 53,000 bales. The entire facility sits on about 38 acres.

Finch maintains a number of female friends outside the ginning industry, who while supportive, remain perplexed as to how a southern lady falls in love with a cotton gin. Her explanation does little to clear up any confusion.

“This is really something for a woman to say, but when the cotton gin starts up, and I start hearing the motors lining up, it gets me going. To stand behind that console and see cotton coming down the slides, I can’t describe it, it does something to you. It’s a whole lot better than shopping for diamonds, I can tell you that.”

Lest any husbands suddenly get the urge to send their wives to ginner’s school, Finch points out that there is a much more serious side to the business. “A lot of people depend on the decisions I make. I want to take care of the people working here, my farmers and our stockholders. It’s scary, but I love it so much that I’m willing to stay awake at night thinking of what I can do to make it better.”

She knows the comparisons with her father will come and go as well. “There will never be another Raymond Miller. He knew this gin. He could tear it apart and put it back together. He knew the farmland. He knew it all. But I’ve been around him so much that when something comes up, I can always ask myself what Dad would do, and usually I know the answer.”

When asked what it was like working for Finch, Couch leaned forward in his chair to make his point. “How many ginners do you know who can start in that office behind that desk and take it all the way to when the bales go overseas. I’m not disrespecting Raymond, but she knows a lot more about what goes on after the cotton is ginned. She is still learning the machinery part of it. But by building this gin, she has learned a lot.”

“I’m not mechanical and sometimes I feel I have to work harder to be taken seriously,” Finch said. “You either love this business, or you have no business being in it. But I’m having the time of my life.”