National Ginners to Meet at Beltwide

It is important for our ginners to stay abreast of the latest technology, research and quality related issues that impact the ginning industry.  The upcoming 2020 Cotton Ginning Conference is just the venue to accomplish this.  The Ginning Conference will include research papers and panel discussions on several timely topics and will include the latest on the development of systems to detect and eliminate plastic contamination, fiber quality preservation, the use of RFID technology, and new products from machinery manufacturers.  There will be two panel discussions that include fiber quality and the cotton industry’s emphasis on increasing length uniformity and a panel to discuss methods to transfer technology to the ginning industry.  The Ginning Conference begins at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and will conclude at 11:00 a.m. Friday. 

The National Cotton Ginners Association (NCGA) will hold committee meetings beginning at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and end at 11:00 a.m. Thursday.  The Ginning Conference and most of the NCGA Committee meetings are open to all ginners and interested parties attending the conference. 

The Ginning Conference and NCGA meetings will be held at the Austin Marriott Hotel, January 8-10.  A complete list of papers that will be presented at the conference and NCGA meeting schedule can be found at http://www.cotton.org/ncga/upload/NCGA-and-Ginning-Conference-Schedule.pdf.

Registration and Hotel information can be found at http://www.cotton.org/beltwide/index.cfm.

Prepare for Wage and Hour Audit

Earlier this year we heard that gins would be an emphasis of the Wage and Hour Division in the Southeast this season. It seems that rumor has come true. This week we’ve heard of several gins in SC and Mississippi (also part of the Atlanta region) getting visits from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division staff.

The typical inspection/audit will include topics such as payroll, Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act, H-2A (if you employ any) etc. Normally the inspectors will ask for payroll records to check for minimum wage violations, and overtime violations. If you have H-2A workers it will be bit more involved. If you have and house migrant workers (employees that leave their home to come to work for you) or if you have H-2A workers, your housing will likely get inspected. If you transport migrant workers or H-2A workers, your vehicles and insurance will also likely be inspected.

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Staging Modules Can Make a BIG Difference

Last year many producers learned how important proper staging of round modules can be. From what I’ve seen driving around recently, we may be setting ourselves up for a remedial course.

I’ve seen a lot of round modules (the vast majority of them) were stages very neatly in groups of four rammed completely up against each other. No space whatsoever between them. So far most of the weather in the region this Fall has been beautiful (but hot) to harvest and its easy to forget rain can be an issue. If we get several inches or if it sets in for a significant period of time, these modules can sustain a LOT of degradation and become very tough to gin in some cases.

Please refer to John Deere’s own material found on the last page of the material linked below. It shows perfect examples of what is good and what is not. Modules stacked too close together can be both a quality and a contamination issue. Your producers need to understand how serious this can be.

Stacking modules on the yard too tightly can be an issue too. If you have a large yard and it will be a while before you can get to a number of rolls, the spacing needs to be appropriate here too. If your yard is small and you will get to the modules quickly its obviously not that critical.

In many areas, this crop is better than expected. Let’s keep this quality rolling.

DSF

JOHN DEERE – https://www.cotton-wrap.com/operational-procedures/

Cotton Inc. – https://www.cotton-wrap.com/operational-procedures/

New Overtime Exemption Rule Set

The Department of Labor recently announced a change to its rules as to who is completely exempt from overtime. The Rule change will become effective January 1, 2020. This exemption is in regards to employees that are totally exempt from overtime and not the partial overtime exemption that is available to gins on a seasonal basis.

Under the current (old) rule, to be exempt an employee has to make at least $455 per week ($23,660 annually) paid on a salary basis. The New Rule changes that to a minimum $684 per week ($35,568 annually) also paid on a salary basis. The rest of the rules remain the same. The Obama administration had proposed a similar rule change but that was blocked by the courts and ultimately repealed. That previous (Obama era) proposal was to increase it to $913 per week. This seems much more reasonable (almost exactly half way).

As a refresher, in order for an employee to qualify for this total exemption from overtime, often referred to as the “administrative exemption”, the employee must meet three criteria. The first is to be paid on a salary basis. This means the employee must be paid the same amount each week or pay period. Salaried employees ARE NOT automatically exempt. Salaried-Non Exempt employees is the subject of a whole other article.

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NCC to host Farm Bill Webinars

The National Cotton Council will be hosting four webinars related to the new farm bill. Sign up for the 2018 Farm Bill has just begun and the NCC is hosting these webinars to help producers understand the various options involved in the process.

The Council is also encouraging gins or other entities to host groups of farmers to allow as many as possible to see the webinars. Questions will be taken via a chat client in the webinar program and the webinars will also be recorded for viewing at a later date. Please Click on the image above for additional information and how you may be able to host a group of farmers at your facility.

DSF

WH-516 Confusion

This is just a short (Okay not so short) article to clarify some confusion regarding the notification of working terms and conditions that is required to be given to Migrant or Seasonal workers under the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act known simply as MSPA. MSPA requires a number of things of the employer to make sure there is no gray area about the employment.

First let’s look at some definitions and why we typically don’t have Seasonal Workers as you may think. Migrant workers are employees that leave their permanent home and come to work for an agricultural employer and stay over night for some period of time. If gins have MSPA workers we typically have Migrant Workers. Seasonal Workers are ‘local’ workers that are recruited by means of a day-haul operation. Day-haul means the employer drives to a gathering point and picks up however many employees he needs that day. They are normally paid daily for their work. Very few, if any, gins get employees by means of day-haul operations so it is not typical for a gin to have Seasonal Workers.

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