Successful Southern Gin School Held in Tifton, GA

One of the largest Southern Gin Schools in some time took place last week in Tifton, GA. For the first time in memory, the Southern Gin School took place somewhere other than Stoneville. Last year, Southeastern Cotton Ginners formally asked the National Cotton Ginners and USDA to look into the feasibility of holding a full gin school in our region. The pieces started falling into place late last year to hold the school in Tifton, GA utilizing both the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia Facilities to teach the school with ABAC being the HOST facility in their brand new Ag Technology Building.

The nearly 125 students and instructors came from 11 states and 30+ gins. Southeastern Staff taught classes in safety and labor issues. Instructors from many vendors, suppliers, USDA and other organizations taught the bulk of the lessons. A HUGE Thanks goes to the all those instructors and especially UGA and ABAC for the use of the facilities and their staff for taking care of the students and instructors for the week.

NCGA and USDA only committed for one year. It will be back in Stoneville next year, but the success should allow having the school in the SE at some time in the future. Thank you to all the participated and all that were instructors.

  • Gin School pictures

Passing of Fred Powell

It is with deep sadness that from time to time that we let our membership and friends know of the passing of one of our members. This is one of those times. Fred Powell with The Cotton Gin in Lenox, GA passed away on Saturday

Fred was a long-time member of this organization and a friend to all. He was well liked among ginners across the region and was well respected for his agronomic skill and understanding the way cotton grew. He was always the person I would turn to when yields were better or worse than expected. He would always call during the growing season to let me know what EXACTLY was going on with the crop. He loved ginning cotton and it showed whenever he would be around the gin.

Not only was Fred a long standing member of the organization he served as a board member whenever the opportunity arose. He never had a problem letting us know when he didn’t agree with a path we were taking nor did he hold back when he thought we were doing well. I will truly miss Fred’s counsel.

Funeral services for Fred will be tomorrow, June 11, 2024. Full obituary information below.

https://www.currentobituary.com/member/obit/285361?iframe=true&width=93%&height=120%

Or : https://www.bowen-donaldson.com/Obituaries.html

Farmworker Protection Rule Webinar

Our friends at the National Council of Agricultural Employers have let us know about a webinar for the New Farmworker Protection Rule. This rule has some huge impacts on the H-2A employment community. If you’re interested please see the information below.


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Farmworker Protection Final Rule Webinar

Good morning, 
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced today that it will host a webinar to review their recently published Farmworker Protection Final Rule on May 23, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET. The webinar will last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Registration is not required, however attendance will be capped at 1000. The webinar will be posted to their site at a later undisclosed date. 
As a reminder, the Final Rule will become effective June 28 and OFLC will begin accepting applications subject to the provisions of this rule on August 29.
We encourage you to save the webinar access information to your calendar so you can secure your spot in the webinar. 
Thursday, May 23, 2024
3:00 PM | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) | 1 hr 30 minsJoin from the meeting link:
https://usdol.webex.com/usdol/j.php?MTID=ma26d3026be80383b09fadbfafa063487Join by meeting number:
Meeting number (access code): 2828 054 0956
Meeting password: H2ARule2024Join by phone:
1-877-465-7975 US Toll Free
1-210-795-0506 US TollJoin from a video system or application:
Dial 28280540956@usdol.webex.com

H-2A Worker Protections Rule Dropped

Last Friday, the Department of Labor dropped the “Improving Protections for Workers in Temporary Agricultural Employment in the United States” Rule. This 600 page document outlines a number of significant changes to, primarily, the H-2A program that will impact these employers in a big way.

I have not had the pleasure of reading the whole 600 page document but the DoL has consolidated it to a website with links to various parts of the rule and tools to help employers. I will outline just a couple that will make your blood boil just a bit.

Immediate effectiveness of AEWR adjustments
The Adverse Effect Wage Rule (AEWR) is adjusted every year. The new AEWR is normally published in mid to late December with an effective date about the first of the new year… normally 14 days before it takes effect. The new rule makes the new AEWR effective immediately upon publishing. This means no time for the employer to prepare for the new wage or try to get finished up before the new wage takes effect. i.e. no warning.

Mandatory Disclosure of all recruiters
The new rule mandates that all recruiters for an H-2A employer must be disclosed in the documents when applying for the workers. We can only assume this is the beginning to crack down on illegal extortion some recruiters were making in foreign countries in order to recruit workers.

Anti-Retaliation Measures (Pro Union Measures)
It’s always been illegal to retaliate against workers for sticking up for their rights but this goes many steps beyond that. It requires employers to open their housing and gathering places to anyone the workers ‘invite’ in. This means you may not have total control over your own property since your housing may be on your premises.
The rule also adds anti-retaliation rules for employers doing almost ANYTHING to stop or try to convince workers not to unionize or “collectively protect themselves”.

There are many many more but this article is already too long. Please follow the Link below to the DoL’s page. You will find links there to the many aspects of the new rule and employer tools for compliance.

It is our expectation that this rule will be sued before it goes into effect but we wanted you to be aware of these changes as many gins that us the H-2A program will be making arrangements soon. Your agents or attorneys are scrambling to make sense of this HUGE and unnecessary rule. I am also attaching the National Council of Ag Employers response to the rule. MORE TO COME.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/agriculture/h2a/final-rule

Gin School Coming to Tifton

In case you weren’t aware, the 2024 Mid-South / Southeast Gin School will be held in Tifton, GA. This is the first time in a long time that a gin school has been held at a location away from the Gin Lab. In the mid-90’s an abbreviated gin school was held in the Southeast as so many gins were being built or upgraded.

We’re pleased to be working with the National Cotton Ginners Association to bring the school to the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and University of Georgia Campuses. Most of the classes will be held at ABAC with some classes and events being held at the micro-gin on the University of Georgia Campus.

We hope you will help us make this a great school. More information can be found on the flyer below and/or by visiting the Gin School website.
https://www.cotton.org/ncga/ginschool/index.cfm

Ginners of the Year

Well, we’re a little behind in congratulating this year’s ginners of the year. We actually have two people to congratulate for this year. The Southeast Ginner of the Year for 2023 is Drake Perrow of Cameron, SC. We also have the National Ginner of the Year in our region and that recipient is Wes Morgan.

Drake Perrow was presented his award at the Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting in Hilton Head, SC back in January. Wes received his award at the National Cotton Ginners Annual Meeting held with the National Cotton Council meeting in February in Orlando, FL.


A very good article on all the National Ginners Award winners, including Wes Morgan’s award can be found here:
https://www.cottongrower.com/cotton-production/ginning/morgan-whitelock-honored-by-national-cotton-ginners-association/#:~:text=Wes%20Morgan%2C%20a%20veteran%20North,organization’s%202023%2D24%20Charles%20C.

Drake Perrow is Partner and General Manager of Cameron Cotton and Seed in Cameron, SC. Drake’s father and uncle bought the small operation in the 70’s and Drake was brought in as a partner.

We are so proud of our members. We have great leadership in the Southeast and it shows in these two Ginners of the Year.