TCGA Interns Share Their Mid-Term Reports

Last month we introduced the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association’s two interns who joined the organization this summer for an opportunity to experience the cotton ginning industry. Both have been with member gins throughout the summer.

Josiah Keck is a student at Texas A&M University majoring in agricultural systems management. He will graduate in 2025. Keck has also worked for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as a student worker. He is interning at Petersburg Co-Op Gin and Smith Gin Co-Op in Odem, Texas.

Riley Gryder is a student at Texas Tech University majoring in mechanical engineering. His expected graduation date is May 2024. Gryder is a member of the Texas Tech Honors College and is interning at Edcot Gin in Edmonson, Texas, and Edcot Co-op Gin in Odem.

The TCGA internship program provides college students with a chance to show their value to potential employers. They gain valuable “real-world experience” to take the next step in their careers. Below are their mid-term reports.

Riley Gryder

During my last two weeks in the Panhandle under the supervision of Phillip Kidd, I visited Adobe Walls and Lonestar gins in Spearman and Pampa, Texas, where I worked alongside Aaron Moore and Dalton Skinner. 

During my time at these gins, I got to see what the offseason was like in the ginning industry — installing upgrades, pulling new wires, servicing bearings and fixing pipe ducts — only some of the jobs I was tasked with. Overall, I learned more than expected while greatly enjoying my time there. I give my greatest thanks to the supervisors and managers who looked after me.

Moving to Edcot Coop in Odem, Texas, under the supervision of Daniel Luehrs, I have seen what startup is like in the ginning world. Making final preparations for what looks like a promising season, I have met several specialists such as Mark Gentry, Clay Whitley and Kyle Gill while carrying out final inspections of the gin. These inspections include changing spark plugs and flame rods, running and calibrating the humidaire machine and installing a new gear box for the module feeder.

While being hands-on in the gin is productive, Daniel also taught me how to drive a forklift and count cotton to estimate bales per acre.

Altogether, I would like to thank Daniel Luehrs for being very welcoming and TCGA for putting me with great people who are allowing me to have these amazing experiences.

Josiah Keck

I have been working for Tyler Cross at Smith Gin Co-Op, in Odem, Texas. During the first week, I worked with Mark Gentry, owner of Gentry Controls & Consulting. Mark taught me how to do maintenance work on the burner heads to the cotton heaters and humidaire machines. During the maintenance process, Mark and I would take off the burner heads and check the flame rod and spark plug.

If there was some rust present, it would have to be hand sanded to keep a good connection with the flame rod and provide a better spark. I also hand sanded the burner head where the flame rod would sense the flame. After all these steps had been completed, Mark and I tested them to make sure everything was working correctly.

Later that same week, I worked outside marking and putting in T-posts for the modules. Depending on the price of cotton this year, insurance companies will only allow a certain number of modules together. The higher the price, the more feet apart the next module set must be.

Currently, the ginners at Odem have been working throughout the gin testing the machines to make sure everything is ready for the upcoming season. I would like to thank Tyler Cross for teaching and getting me prepared for the approaching ginning season. I would also like to thank Aaron Nelsen and the TCGA for this amazing internship opportunity.

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West Texas September Safety Seminars

As fall approaches, we are entering the final stretch of our safety seminars.  The schedule is a little different than last year, so study it and pick the meeting that works best for you and your gin crew.

If you were unable to make one of the earlier seminars, you have several additional opportunities in mid-September. We will provide a seminar in Canyon this year on Sept. 19. That will be followed by a Sept. 20 meeting in Childress. We will wrap up our schedule on Sept. 21 in Lubbock.

Go to https://tinyurl.com/5fausv6a to see the complete 2023 schedule and registration information. The document includes a memorandum, flyer and registration form.

The seminars will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a catered lunch. Please note all seminars will begin at 8:30 a.m. sharp. There will be two identical sessions conducted. The morning session is from 8:30 a.m. to noon and will be presented in English while the afternoon session will be the same in content but will be presented in Spanish. Those attending the afternoon session are encouraged to show up at 11:45 a.m. to eat lunch. The morning session attendees will eat once their session concludes. They will be free to go after lunch. The Texas Cotton Ginners Trust manager session will begin at 1 p.m. as well. Remember, TCGT staff conducts manager meetings following each TCGA district meeting. Texas Cotton Ginners’ Trust is the sole sponsor of the 2023 safety seminars.

The idea behind the seminars is to go through the ginning process from picking up the module to hauling the finished bale off the yard. Throughout the entire presentation, we will let you know some of the different accidents that happened during the past ginning season.

We hope you will make every effort to attend one of the remaining seminars. If you have questions about the upcoming safety seminars, please contact Aaron Nelsen 512-476-8388 at your TCGA office. Hope to see you in West Texas!

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CCGGA Update On Heat Illness Tool Kit

Temperatures are increasing, and heat illness prevention training remains at the forefront. To aid in helping members and clients stay in compliance, the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association has developed a Heat Illness Program Tool Kit that can be carried in your supervisors’ pick-ups.

Cotton’s Calendar Sept. 19: PCCA Board of Directors & Annual Meetings, Lubbock, Texas Sept. 20: Staplcotn Board Meeting, 214 W Market Street Greenwood, Mississippi Sept. 26: Calcot 96th Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona Oct. 11: Plains Cotton Growers Board of Directors Meeting, Lubbock, Texas Oct. 18: PCCA Board & Delegate Body Meetings, Lubbock, Texas Dec. 5-7: Cotton Board/Cotton Inc. Joint Meeting, St. Pete Beach, Florida – Lowes Don Cesar Hotel Dec. 13: PCCA Board, Delegate Body & Marketing Pool Committee Meetings, Lubbock, Texas Jan. 3-5: 2024 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Omni Fort Worth, Ft. Worth, Texas Jan. 22-25: 2024 Southern Southeastern Annual Meeting, The Westin, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Jan. 31: 2024 Georgia Cotton Commission Annual Meeting, UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, Tifton, Georgia

The updated kit consists of a rugged plastic folder with tabs and materials inside. The kit includes heat illness cards, safety toolbox talks and places for your Heat Illness Prevention Policy, emergency numbers and field maps as required by the Heat Illness Standard. The cost is $13 each, and CCGGA recommends you purchase one kit for each vehicle used by supervisors or foremen.

Here is a link to the Heat Illness Prevention Program Tool Kit order form — t.ly/FaOEO. Just complete the form and mail back with a check or pay online via PayPal through the link provided, and your order will fulfilled immediately.

If you have any questions, please call 559-455-9272.

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