Wage and Hour Ag Emphasis Program Nationally with Southeast Target

The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division announced last week that they will be initiating a Emphasis Program for Agricultural Employers in the US. Earlier in the week, they had specifically mentioned the Southeast. Both Releases will be linked below.

Cotton gins in the Southeast have been targeted for the past few years with several in each state receiving special attention from the Wage and Hour division. In the coming weeks we will be publishing more information on compliance but for now please find the DoL’s ag compliance toolkit. It has several links that will get you started.

Remember, cotton gins have partial exemptions from over time that are not covered in the toolkit. Those carve-outs bring with them extra responsibilities such as keeping up with daily vs weekly overtime.

These emphasis programs are NOT just for H-2A employers but all of agriculture.

The Wage and Hour Ag Toolkit can be found here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/compliance-assistance/toolkits/agriculture

Southeast Emphasis Program: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20210308

National Agricultural Emphasis Program: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/whd/whd20210325

Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions.

DSF

REMINDER

The National Cotton Ginners and USDA will be holding Ginner Training Seminars each week for the next three weeks. These seminars are in lieu of the Ginners School that is normally conducted each Spring/Summer at the Gin Labs.

Registration for the seminars is required and is separate for each. You may attend any or all but you need to register for the ones you want to attend.

You can register for these online seminars at the links below and more information can be found on the NCGA website at www.cotton.org/ncga/ginschool/index.cfm.

Week 1 – April 6, 2021
https://cotton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEufuCgrD4uG91N_XDwwmASiMwMDSfTAh73

Week 2 – April 13, 2021
https://cotton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvduCspjMsHN39eggf-aze8_NUlex_04IS

Week 3 – April 20, 2021
https://cotton.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcufuiorTIiGtAXf51GWGYXfdj0Q4DGNpAF

Passing of Frank Bledsoe

When one of our members hurts, we all hurt. Frank Bledsoe, Owner of Tri-Co Peanut and Gin in Unadilla passed away Saturday at home. Services for Frank will be this Tuesday April, 6. The full obituary can be found here OBITUARY. The family has asked for donations in lieu of flowers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Franks family and friends and the Tri-Co gin staff.

DSF

Gin Training Seminar Announced

It was announced earlier this year that there wouldn’t be a gin school for the second year in a row… at least not in person. The National Cotton Ginners Association, USDA and various state and regional Associations feel that continued training is a very important part of what we do. Therefore, in lieu of an in-person gin school, the NCGA and USDA are hosting an online Gin Training Seminar.

There will be three seminars in total scheduled one day a week for three weeks. Each session will cover different topics and you can register for one, two or all three. All sessions are from 1PM-5 PM CENTRAL TIME and 4 hrs of Continuing Education Credits will be given for all of these sessions for certified ginners. Please refer to the links in the flyer below. We certainly encourage all of our members to participate. This is a great opportunity for your gin employees to learn from the best in the business.

Please contact Harrison Ashely with the National Cotton Ginners Association for questions.

Gin-Zoom-Training-Seminars-

OSHA ITA Portal Having Issues

The deadline for reporting your OSHA 300A information was two days ago but we understand many people still cannot get into the site or get part way in and receive errors. OSHA has indicated that they are continuing to have problems.

At this point we recommend you keep trying and capturing your screen to prove you’ve been attempting to enter the data. Also, if possible, open a help ticket (that link has been having trouble as well) to get some help in the process. The errors that have been reported range from no establishments associated with a user account, to not being able to reset a password or not being able to establish an account and everything in between.

If we get more information or tips on how to best deal with this, we will let you know.

DSF

More on Quality Loss Adjustment

While more guidance is likely forthcoming, the following article was published in last weeks “Cotton’s Week” from the National Cotton Council:

USDA Implementing Quality Loss Disaster Provisions

USDA announced the implementation of the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) program to assist Upland and extra-long staple cotton producers who suffered quality losses occurring in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019.  During the last month, NCC staff has worked closely with Farm Service Agency (FSA) on the proper implementation of QLA for cotton considering the distinct and unique ways cotton is marketed. Below is an outline of QLA eligibility, payment calculations and the quality information growers will need to submit to FSA when filing their QLA application. Quality losses are eligible in counties that received a qualifying Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or Secretarial Disaster Designation because of one or more of these qualifying disaster events or related conditions.  Qualifying events include:

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