OSHA Clarifies Earlier Rules on Drug Testing and Incentives

Way back in 2016 (before the election) OSHA published a pretty comprehensive rule that affected many, if not all, businesses in the US. The rule was fairly controversial initially but not for the stated purpose of the rule. The rule was the electronic reporting rule that required all large and many small companies (including cotton gins) to report their OSHA 300 data to the agency each year. Included in that rule, almost as an afterthought, were two additional rules that dealt with incentive programs and drug testing as they play a roll in timely reporting of injuries by employees.

The additional rules known as the anti-retaliation rules, initially barred employers from post Continue reading

USDA Estimate Shows Hurricane Damage to SE

In the first Crop Production Report since Hurricane Michael and the first good estimates since Hurricane Florence, the USDA has reduced the Southeast’s cotton production from 5.691 Million bales to 4.31 Million bales. That’s a total reduction of 1.381 Million bales from the September 1 report. Most estimates had over a million bale reduction but I’m not sure it was expected to drop that much.

All Southeastern states indicated significant reductions to crops from the September 1 to November 1. Alabama showed a reduction of 215,000 bales or 19.6%. Florida dropped from Continue reading

NCC Disaster Loss Survey

Please see the below Memo from the National Cotton Council regarding losses from hurricanes Florence and Michael. The best way for your organizations to represent the loss is through real, actual data. Please forward the link below to your producers and encourage their participation.


October 25, 2018
To:                   Cotton Industry Members Affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael
From:              Gary Adams
NCC President and CEO
Subject:          Crop Loss and Input Cost Survey
As a follow-up to conference calls that the National Cotton Council conducted with cotton industry leaders affected by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, we sent the following link to the NCC’s website for providing estimates of crop losses on an individual farm or within a county.
You are strongly encouraged to go to this link at your earliest convenience.  Damage estimates can be detailed by either giving pre- and post-hurricane yields or specifying losses in pounds or percentages.  An estimate of the number of cotton acres on your operation will be helpful.  We also are asking for information on input costs for this crop, as well as feedback on damages to other crops, structures, equipment or other infrastructure.  Please note the name of the storm. The information that you provide will be anonymous, as we are not asking for names.
Ginners are asked to pass on this link to their grower customers and encourage them to participate in this survey.  Ginners also may use the link to provide an assessment of crop losses in their trade territories and report damage to structures, equipment or other infrastructure.
These estimates of crop losses and input costs will be very helpful for the NCC’s use in Congressional and Administration contacts as potential avenues for assistance are explored.

Partial Overtime Exemption Can Lead to Confusion

During out state meetings recently, one of the topics that seemed to cause the most confusion was dealing with overtime and how to pay it. This article will attempt to refresh everyone’s memory on how that works for gins.

Cotton Gins are in a unique position of having two partial overtime exemptions that give ginners the option of paying overtime after 40 hours (normal) or over 48 hours (partial exemption). There are two code sections in the Fair Labor Standards act that discuss the partial overtime exemption for gins. Sections 13(h) and 13(i) are the code sections in the law that we refer to for overtime exemptions. Gins may use these exemptions for up to 14 weeks.

Section 13(h) is the rule dealing with jobs that are necessary and incidental to the ginning process. A list of those types off jobs are contained in the document linked at the bottom of this article. Think of these as the people that you hire that aren’t running machinery. You can Continue reading

Ginning Wet Cotton Is No Fun

In the past several days, parts of our region have gotten a substantial amount of rain on wide open cotton. This is over and above what happened in the Carolinas with Florence. With temperatures where they are, damp cloudy weather  can lead to some instances (more rare than you may thing) where the ginner needs to take a bit more precaution when ginning.

Wet cotton can lead to wet seed. Wet seed can be tough to gin. Sprouted seed can be tough to gin. The best advice is to let the cotton dry thoroughly if possible. Soft seed will firm up enough to gin. Sprouted seed will drop the sprout a lot of the time and if it doesn’t, the gin and lint cleaners will get it out.

Sometimes producers need to go ahead an pick it before the next storm or front makes a bad situation worse. This is when you really need to communicate with your producers. Round modules can complicate things further.

Please read the paper below. It was developed several years ago and doesn’t take round modules into account but it has a lot of good information.

Recommendations Excess Moisture Prepared by WSAnthony



NC, SC and VA State Unit Meetings This Week – FINALLY

For a third attempt, the North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia State Unit meetings for the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, will be held this week. The first two attempts had to be postponed due to Hurricane Florence’s impact on the area. Many gins and ginners are in some of the hardest hit areas of the state. Even though some gins will be running we will hold our annual issues update and safety meetings this week.

The South Carolina State Unit meeting will be Thursday, September 27 at 10 AM at the the Tri-County Electric Coop in St. Matthews, SC. The North Carolina / Virginia State Unit meeting will be Friday, September 28 at 10 AM as well. Lunch will follow.

We hope to see all our ginners at one of these meetings.