Cotton is made from the fibers within the boll, the seed pod, of the cotton plant. When ripe, the boll pops open revealing the fluffy, white puffs. These are stripped from the plants by harvesting machines and delivered for processing.
Harvested cotton must first be ginned. This mechanical process involves cleaning the fibers and separating them from the seeds. The gin removes dirt, leaves and other impurities from the cotton fibers, cuts away the seeds, and produces a cotton "lint" that is formed into bales in preparation for shipping to textile mills. The seeds are made into cottonseed oil or feed for livestock.