Stoneville Gin School Registration Ongoing

We wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to go to gin school and remind you registration is limited.

The gin school in Stoneville, MS is happening for the first time since 2019 in person. Due to Covid restrictions the number of students is limited where it hasn’t been in the past. If you’re planning or would like to attend, please jump on the web page and register.

All three levels plus continuing education will be held in-person. There are class size limitations and total attendee registrations so please register soon so you don’t get left out. We got an update this morning that some levels are getting tight.

Go to https://www.cotton.org/ncga/ginschool/index.cfm to get more information and to register.

DSF

Strategic Planning Process Started

Some of the Strategic Planning Committee

There’s an old saying that goes something like…”Failing to Plan is a Plan to Fail”. The Board of Directors for Southeastern Cotton Ginners adopted a Strategic Plan about 20 years ago. It worked well but over time had been all but forgotten.

Earlier this year, President, Steve Sterling appointed a committee to review and revise the Strategic Plan with no limitations on what the committee could do to it. That Committee met recently in Athens, Georgia. With the help with faculty from the Ag Leadership program at the University of Georgia, the committee spent a day and a half on professional development and review of the current plan.

After that review, the committee decided the plan only really needs to be updated to reflect some of the issues that are higher priorities in today’s environment vs 2002. The committee could have completely trashed the plan and started from scratch but decided that wasn’t necessary. It is a testimony to the leaders of the past that their original plan is continuing to meet most of the needs of the Association’s Operations.

This doesn’t mean the work is done… to the contrary. The time the Committee had was too short to truly dig into the nuts and bolts. They will continue to meet over the coming months to put more flesh on the bones that they established at this first meeting. Additionally, the committee will be looking at the programs and services the Association is involved with and how those can be improved. Finally, they may end up looking at the general governance of the organization. does our Board and Committee structure reflect the industry today vs 53 years ago when the organization was founded.

At some point in the process, we will be asking for your help. We will likely be surveying the membership and possibly the Associate Members to elicit some input in the process. We’re likely some time away from this but wanted you to begin to think about it. When we do put out a survey(s) we will need as many people to participate as possible.

As always, don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.

DSF

Gin Survey Updated

Image of front page of the NCGA/USDA Survey Website.

The National Cotton Ginners and USDA are still conducting their Gin Cost Survey. More responses are needed. We are pleased to help get the word out but we need YOUR help in filling out the survey.

The Survey has been updated to include some better descriptions on what is being asked about. The only way this survey will improve is to have people fill it out and send feedback to the Authors. You can send it to us at the association as well and we’ll forward that to the authors if you wish.

Please go to cottonsurvey.org and fill out the survey. Many industries use the national and regional data every day for various reasons and the information is very useful in communications with congress and others. All individual gin information is kept anonymous and data that is shared with the pubic is aggregated.

We really appreciate your help in this.

ARS Ginning Labs Hosting Remaining Ginner Schools

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) has announced that with COVID numbers continuing to fall, the ARS ginning laboratories in Las Cruces, NM, and Stoneville, MS, can host the remaining 2022 ginner schools. Ginners, gin managers and superintendents are urged to register for the Western Ginners School on May 4-5 and the Stoneville Ginners School on June 8-9.

The 35th annual schools will be two days instead of three, and there will be no on-site registration. Credit cards can be used for online registration at www.cotton.org/ncga/ginschool/index.cfm where course descriptions and more information are available.  

The schools will continue to offer the course levels I, II and III and continuing education courses. Levels I, II and III programming will feature practical information on all aspects of ginning. Topics to be covered range from gin safety and maintenance to drying/moisture restoration systems and seed cotton/cottonseed handling systems.

The continuing education courses will include topics such as the use and practical application of variable frequency drives, gin upgrades and increasing capacities, air pollution controls, labor issues and H2-A, press rebuilds to increase press capacities, and stabilizing catastrophic injuries.

The three schools’ programming is coordinated by the NCGA, working in conjunction with USDA’s Greg Holt and the three USDA ginning laboratories. School cooperators include USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, NCGA and its member associations, the NCC, Cotton Incorporated, gin machinery/equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and select land grant universities.

Round Module Wrap Standard Developed

(reprinted from Cotton’s Week)

The U.S. cotton industry soon will be promoting – and strongly recommending the use of – a voluntary round module wrap standard that was developed by industry in conjunction with USDA Agriculture Research Service scientists and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

This initiative is a result of the U.S. cotton industry taking all necessary measures to prevent plastic contaminants from entering baled cotton – including module wrap. Research has proven that if round modules are delivered to gins in good condition, (no tears, punctures, loose material, or adhesive failures), then the likelihood of plastic entering the gin, and ultimately the ginned bale, is greatly reduced. Module wrap documents and other resources aimed at helping industry members prevent contamination are on NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/tech/quality/contamfree.cfm.

The ASABE’s Cotton Engineering Committee recently updated the “Cotton Module Cover Material Performance” (S615.2) standard to include testing requirements and performance specifications for round module wrap. The updated standard’s goal is defining minimum performance levels for round module wrap products to 1) protect stored seed cotton from quantity/quality losses and 2) minimize plastic contamination in ginned lint.

The ASABE S615.2 standard, at www.asabe.org/Portals/0/aPubs/S615.pdf, should be reviewed by wrap manufacturers before beginning the process to demonstrate compliance. This guide describes the required testing and resulting minimum performance levels that a wrap product must meet or exceed to achieve compliance with ASABE S615.2.

The plan is for wrap products that demonstrate compliance with ASABE S615.2 to be included on a list of “Approved Wrap Products” maintained by the NCC at www.cotton.org/tech/quality/approved-rmw-products.cfm.

Wage and Hour Head Nomination Fails

Last week, President Biden’s nomination for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division failed to pass the Senate. David Weil, who was the Wage and Hour Division head under President Obama had been nominated some months ago by President Biden.

The nomination made it out of committee when one Republican Senator was not able to make the meeting when his nomination came up and it was moved to the full Senate by one vote. The vote on March 30, failed by 3 votes 53-47 with Democratic Senators Manchin, Sinema, and Kelley voting against.

Under President Obama there were a couple of notable “accomplishments” that we know would have (probably are) on Wage and Hour’s agenda. One of the most widely impactful was the nearly doubling of the minimum salary for certain employees to qualify as exempt from overtime. The white-collar exemptions minimum was increased under President Trump but only a portion of what the Obama Administration and Mr. Weil had wanted. The Obama increase was stopped by a Federal court in Texas. Mr. Weil also put out, what many considered overreach by the department in the form of a guidance memo on who and who was not an independent contractor. That was rescinded when President Trump was elected.

So…the Wage and Hour Division still doesn’t have a division head. We will wait and see what is next but there’s a certain amount of “Devil you know vs. Devil you don’t know” in the air. We pretty much knew what we were going to get with Mr. Weil and we have no idea about the next nominee. For now the various divisions are doing their own thing but we will see where that heads. Status quo with the exception of the Division receiving a fair amount of additional funds in the budget to hire more inspectors.

More to come I’m Sure.