Friday, December 2, 2022

Multiple Gin-Related Issues Being Addressed

The U.S. ginning industry is addressing a myriad of ongoing issues from safety to contamination to labor and climate change.

The National Cotton Ginners Association recently concluded its first in-person ginner schools since 2019 with the three schools attracting 320 students. With gins facing many new employees, it was important to host in-person schools so that safety and machine familiarization could be covered and emphasized. 

New Safety Video Available

The NCGA was asked to produce a safety video that could be used by both gin employees and truckers who are contracted to haul seed from gins. The goal was to highlight the importance of safety when working with overhead cottonseed storage and loading trucks.

The NCGA video, which is the eighth in NCGA’s safety series and sponsored by Cliff Granberry Corp., now is available and can be streamed from the NCGA’s website.  

Updated Ginners’ Compliance Guide

Working with a labor attorney, the NCGA updated the Ginners’ Compliance Guide to Labor Laws to help ginners prepare for Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division audits and the increased use of H-2A employees by gins. This update, which includes the most recent regulations and interpretations, has been mailed to all gins. It also is available in electronic format on the NCGA website.

It is important for gin managers and those responsible for the employment paperwork and payroll to carefully review this information. 

Addressing Heat Injury And Illness Prevention

The NCGA is closely monitoring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recent Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. This may include cotton gins. OSHA is using the heat standard developed in California as its model for the national standard.

There have been several sessions with the National Advisory Committee on the OSHA Heat Advisory Group in anticipation of a proposed rule being issued soon.  

Round Module Wrap Standard

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recently passed the industry-advocated amended module cover standard to include a minimum performance standard for round module wrap. Ginners and producers should demand that round module wraps meet this standard.

If a round module arrives at the gin in good condition, the likelihood of contamination from the wrap is reduced greatly. While this standard is voluntary, it will be promoted and strongly recommended by the U.S. cotton industry.

Protocols have been developed for a wrap manufacturer to demonstrate that its product meets the standard for performance. Testing by a third-party certified lab is required. All costs for testing and reporting are to be borne by the wrap manufacturer.

The National Cotton Council will maintain on its website a list of the companies and their specific wrap that meets the standard. 

Carbon And Greenhouse Gas Emission

The Administration will continue its focus on climate change. It is likely they will review and attempt to lower the particulate matter of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard. This issue will be monitored.

Regulations aimed at carbon and greenhouse gas emission that could impact the energy sectors will be monitored as well. New or more stringent regulation could further increase the cost of energy, thereby increasing the cost of transportation, agricultural inputs and ginning.

Confidential Gin Cost Survey

The NCGA, working with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, has developed a web-based gin cost survey.

This confidential survey, available on NCGA’s website, will allow ginner participants to track their gin’s variable cost and compare their individual gin to specific gins in their region. Included are several charts and graphs.

This electronic questionnaire will allow for a gin participant’s annual data input. Ginning costs and the ability for the industry to track these costs is extremely important. 

Ginning cost data that includes energy use also is important in sustainability programs, such as the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. Throughout the years, gins have continued to show improvements in energy use. This trend likely will continue — a point that deserves to be showcased.


Harrison Ashley, executive vice president of the National Cotton Ginners Association, contributed this article. Contact him at (901) 274-9030 or hashley@cotton.org.

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