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Labor Continues To Be An Issue

It’s all over the news about how good the job market is. In many places, there are “help wanted” signs everywhere. Labor is tight. In some areas, labor is tighter than others. It’s no great shock that the ginning industry relies on a largely migrant workforce.

With a tight labor market, able-bodied people who want to work can find work year-round. If you want a job, you have a job in most parts of the country, including a large portion of rural America. However, most people don’t want to work at a seasonal job no matter how good the pay may be. Additionally, in areas where local workers traditionally have come to work at a gin, many are moving out of the workforce for health and age reasons.

Focus Of Conversation Shifts

Even though the season isn’t over yet in many places (it just won’t end), it’s not too early to start thinking about the upcoming season’s labor. This brings up the reason for my article.

Meeting season for the cotton industry — the time when organizations gather and people prepare for another crop — is in full swing. As we move from meeting to meeting, there are similar conversations that come up no matter what part of the country you are from. For example, people talk about machinery changes, trucking changes, harvester changes and unwrapper changes.

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These topics used to be discussed with an eye toward getting the job done faster or more efficiently. Now they revolve around how to eliminate people. Labor is a driver in so many discussions today.

In my part of the world, a number of gins were concerned about finding enough people to run two shifts. Hurricanes Florence and Michael took care of that problem for this year, but in some ways the storms have made folks concerned about next year.

The effects of such disasters linger.

People who had worked at gins in some areas are now working on recovery efforts and will be for a couple years. Construction, cleanup, infrastructure repair, etc. are claiming a number of field and gin workers for longer-term employment.

Secure Labor Now

A gin used to have many more applicants than they had jobs, now they barely get enough to fill what they need. There are many outlets to find workers, but the purpose of this article is to encourage ginners to start securing the upcoming season’s seasonal labor force soon.

Make sure you have your current workforce contacts and stay in touch in the off-season. Recruit them to help find legal employees. Work on labor leasing contracts if that’s available or start discussions with local producers who use H-2A to try to maximize that effort. Whatever your way of recruiting and securing labor, it’s never too early to start, but it can often be too late.

Dusty Findley, CEO of the Southeastern Cotton Ginners Association, contributed this article. Contact Findley at 706-344-1212 or dusty@southern-southeastern.org.

The Science Channel Features Cotton On Its ‘How It’s Made’ TV Show

how it's made logoThe cotton edition of “How It’s Made” recently aired on the Science Channel. The segment debuted on Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. and was filmed at Birome Gin Co. Inc. in Birome, Texas.

Using one of your digital devices, go to https://bit.ly/2U4CAdR to view the show. You will need to sign into your provider account to gain access.

According to the Science Channel website, “The ‘How It’s Made’ TV show explores how everyday objects or products we seldom stop to think about are made. In each episode, viewers learn how common items — such as dental crowns, corn whiskey, greenhouse tomatoes, rock climbing gear, pipes, luxury sports cars, traditional bookbinding and flight simulators — are manufactured in high-tech factories or processing plants around the world.”

TCGA Gets Involved

Just to provide a little bit of history, one of the show producers called the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association office out of the blue. Kelley Green and Tony Williams both communicated with him. The production crew was going to be in Texas for a specific two-week period around the first part of October.

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TCGA staff put the “How It’s Made” production manager in touch with Gerry Kasberg with Birome Gin. The production manager wanted to film not only the ginning of cotton, but the harvesting of cotton as well. The Central Texas gin fit the desired time frame perfectly. The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association sends a big thanks to Gerry and Lisa Kasberg and the staff at

Birome Gin for working with the folks at “How It’s Made” to get the project done.
Enjoy watching the show!

The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association provided information for this article.

Wes Morgan To Lead National Cotton Ginners Association

national cotton ginners association logoThe Memphis, Tennessee-based National Cotton Ginners Association elected its 2019 officers on Feb. 8 during its annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Here is the new slate: president – Wes Morgan, New London, North Carolina; first vice president – Curtis Stewart, Spade, Texas; second vice president – George LaCour Jr., Morganza, Louisiana; third vice president – Gene Seale, Pima, Arizona; and chairman – Stanley Creelman, Tulare, California. Harrison Ashley of Cordova, Tennessee, serves as NCGA’s executive vice president.

Morgan, who graduated top of his class at King’s College in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1987, is manager of Rolling Hills Gin LLC in New London.

Having served on and chaired multiple NCGA committees, Morgan currently chairs the NCGA’s Legislative Committee and its Air Quality Subcommittee. He also is chairman of Southeastern Cotton Ginners.

Morgan was a participant in the National Cotton Council’s 2016 Emerging Leaders Program and currently serves as a NCC director and as a member of the NCC’s Cotton Flow Committee and Quality Task Force.

Also at NCGA’s annual meeting, Kirk Gilkey, manager of the Cross-Creek II Gin in Corcoran, California, was named the 2018 Horace Hayden National Cotton Ginner of the Year.

In addition, Dr. Ed Barnes, senior director for Cotton Incorporated’s Agricultural and Environmental Research Division in Cary, North Carolina, received the NCGA’s 2018-19 Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award.