Our Week

Lubbock Gin School Canceled

The National Cotton Ginners has announced the cancellation of the Lubbock Gin School scheduled for early April. NCGA Executive Director, Harrison Ashley stated: “Due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and the restrictions placed on USDA facilities and staff, it is with great displeasure that I must inform you that the Lubbock School has been canceled.  I am hoping that the Western and Stoneville Schools will be held as scheduled.”

Gin Show Still On

As of this posting, Texas Cotton Ginners Association has stated that they are monitoring the coronavirus situation but that the only event connected with the show to cancel was the Gin School. Tony Williams, Executive Director of the Texas Cotton ginners Association stated: “if mandated or a severe outbreak were to occur in Lubbock, we would consider cancelling the gin show, otherwise we are a go”. We recommend you monitor Texas Cotton Ginners facebook page or their website www.tcga.org if you are planning on heading to Lubbock.

Southeastern Leadership Makes Trip to Washington

Some of the Southern Cotton Growers Government Relations Committee and Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association Leadership met with Congressman Collin Peterson in the House Ag Committee Room.

Once again, the leadership of Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association was invited to go with Southern Cotton Growers Government Relations Committee to our Nation’s Capitol to visit the delegation from our six states. Our Executive Committee has gone on this trip with Southern for several years. Over the day and a half visit, the attendees had over 60 appointments with members or their staff. Many of the congressional members were able to make the meetings even in the face of the coronavirus threat.

The meetings went very well and our delegations discussed topics from MFP payments to WHIP to H-2A to the Cotton Trust Protocol. We would like to thank Southern Cotton Growers for the invitation to join them in Washington to show a united Southern – Southeastern message from our region to our representatives in Congress. We look forward to continuing these trips in the future. See the Southern Southeastern Facebook Page for more photos.

Participation in the NCGA/USDA Ginning Cost Survey Needed

Please take a few minutes to participate in this year’s Cost of Ginning Survey. This information is used by any number of people to help guide and represent our industry. This year the survey is an online survey. The data collected is always anonymous and is aggregated with other gins from our region and/or gins of similar size. We need more participation in this year’s survey. Please go to https://bit.ly/2FWkntt to participate. If you have questions please contact Harrison Ashley at hashley@cotton.org or 901-274-9030.

OSHA 300A Posting

Just a friendly Reminder that your OSHA 300A summary information should be posted right now. The posting of the summary of work related Injuries and Illnesses should be posted at the beginning of February and stay up until the end of April. Please make sure yours is up. Once you pull it down, it should be filed along with your OSHA 300 log. These should be maintained for 5 years. Its the easiest violation to avoid and it is the FIRST thing an OSHA Inspector asks for when they walk in. And… before you ask… YES you need to have one even if you had zero injuries or illnesses. Please fill it out completely and total with zeros where appropriate.

Wage and Hour Investigations Coming to a Close

Many gins got US DoL Wage and Hour Division Audits this year. Most of them are winding down with final results with fines or back wages due coming out in the past couple weeks. While most of the audits went fine, some had some significant errors. Whenever you get one of these where the agency has calculated back wages please have someone else review the findings before you agree to pay a large sum. The worst we’ve found was nearly $10,000 over what was actually due.

Additionally we need to hear from you regarding your experiences. We’re compiling a list of violations and will be putting out a summary of the issues that were found. Most, if not all, were oversights and mis-understanding of the rules. While the Wage and Hour division often looks at overtime and such, they are also in charge of the proper application of the Migrant and Seasonal Worker Protection Act, the Fair labor Standards Act, the H-2A rules and several other laws. Most gins cross many of these rules in some way so it is difficult for us or the inspectors to know every bit of every rule so we need to work as a team. Please forward your stories to dusty@southern-southeastern.org.

Have a GREAT weekend and Wash Your Hands