The Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Ginners Association urge ginners to complete USDA Agricultural Research Service’s 2019 Cost of Ginning Survey.
The confidential, triennial survey helps to identify
historical trends of gin operation and helps to document the incorporation of
new technologies to maintain or reduce ginning costs. The cost of ginning
cotton is an important concern for producers and ginners, and survey data
provides information about key variable costs as a component of the overall
cost of ginning cotton.
Don Daily of Dublin, Georgia was this year’s recipient of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Ginner of the Year. This award is presented each year to the cotton ginner in the Southeast that exemplifies what it means to be a cotton ginner.
Don grew up in the gin business. He often tell stories of going to gin shows when he was probably too small to go but went with his dad many times. His family has been ginning cotton for more than 100 years in some way shape or form. They have had water powered gins, steam, diesel and electric power plants as well. You can say it is in his blood.
Don went off to college at ABAC and Auburn and after a short time working outside of agriculture, his dad asked him to come help run the gin he was managing. That gin is now known as Modern Gin in Dexter Georgia. The business is Dexter Supply and has many diversified operations including grain and peanuts as well as a hardware store an of course the cotton gin.
Don and his wife Pam have two children all of which were able to surprise Don when he received his award. Congratulations to Don Daily of Dublin, GA for being the 2019 Southeast Cotton Ginner of the Year.
Over 500 registered this year for the Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting. The meeting held each January is an opportunity for the members of Southern Cotton Growers and Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association (Southern Southeastern) to come together for fellowship and education. All cotton producers are members of Southern.
This year’s meeting covered a WIDE range of topics from the Dwarf Leaf Roll Virus to Crop Insurance to H-2A to cotton seed storage to contamination. There were two general sessions and two concurrent technical sessions split between grower and ginner interests. Some of the speakers included newly appointed US Senator Kelly Loeffler, John Mitchell from Choice Cotton, Derek Whitelock with USDA, Adam Kantrovitch with Clemson and many many more. All told nearly 25 people presented over the two and a half days of the meetings.
In coming days, we will be posting the presentations on either this page, Southern Southeastern’s page or possibly both. Please watch your emails for links or give us a call with a request for a specific presentation if you need it sooner.
Are your salaried employees exempt from overtime? Just because an employee is salaried doesn’t necessarily make the employee exempt from overtime. This has come up some in the past but beginning January 1, 2020, it could be a bit more of an issue.
We’re not going to get into what all is required for an employee to be considered exempt from overtime but understand that there are both a minimum salary as well as a duties test. Even if the employee has the duties, there is a minimum salary the employee must have in order to qualify. In the past that level has been $455. On January 1, it becomes $684 or $35,568 annually.
If you have employees that are currently salaried and exempt from overtime, make sure that they are making the new minimum or you will need to make them non-exempt. This means that they will need to have their hours kept and overtime paid for work over 40 hours in a typical week.
If you want to continue paying these employees a salary, there are ways of doing it while still being not exempt from overtime but it can get pretty complicated. I would recommend doing an internet search for “salaried non-exempt” and looking at several labor lawyer sites to get the full story. It isn’t trivial and you will still have to keep up with the hours those employees work. We can help if you have questions.
For now, just understand that at the very minimum you must be paying your exempt employees (those exempt from overtime) a minimum of $684 per week. More information on the new rule can be found HERE.Pay particular attention to the small business compliance guide on that page.
Beginning January 1, 2020 a new Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) will go into effect. The AEWR is effectively the minimum wage for H-2A workers. The wage is calculated each year based on a USDA survey of agricultural workers across the country and is largely regional in nature. The wages on average will be going up 6 percent according to the notice in today’s federal register.
The AEWR is calculated so that employers don’t bring in foreign workers at a rate that would depress local wages for US workers. The program as a whole is designed to discourage its use in terms of the hoops that the employer has to jump through and the wages that must be paid.
In our region the wage is bumping a little with Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina going from $11.13 to $11.71 and North Carolina and Virginia moving from $12.25 to $12.67 which is a 5.2% and a 3.4% increase respectively. Florida is increasing $11.24 to $11.71, a 4.2% increase.
If you or your producers are using H-2A workers after the first of the year, you must pay the increased AEWR beginning January 1. The complete list of wages and Federal Register Notice are available HERE. Give us a call if you have any questions.
With the emphasis program that the Wage and Hour division of the Department of Labor has put on gins this year, we’ve gotten more calls from both gins and DoL on bonuses than ever before. In GENERAL bonuses are added to the regular rate of pay (subject to overtime) when they are non-discretionary. Discretionary bonuses not normally added to the regular rate of pay and therefore not subject to overtime.
That begs the question what qualifies as a discretionary bonus and what is considered non-discretionary. That is, at its heart, a legal question and as we are not attorneys, we are not qualified to tell you whether or not your way of paying bonuses is discretionary or non-discretionary. We can tell you what others have said and link to their sites. In general a discretionary bonus is paid after the fact, and is typically a surprise. It is not promised or expected and is typically not paid every year. A non-discretionary bonus is something that is normally promised ahead of time and is expected and is typically paid each year.