USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Provides Update on Cotton Classing IssuesFri, 26 Nov 2021 08:52:10 CST
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Deputy Administrator Darryl W. Earnest has provided an update to cotton industry stakeholders Nov. 23 to discuss issues the agency has encountered delivering cotton classification results to producers on the 2021-crop.
Earnest notes that while the Agency’s Cotton Division strives to process and return classing results within 72 hours, the 2021-crop has presented them with a number of challenges that have prevented it from consistently meeting the 72-hour target. Among the issues impacting the delivery of cotton classification services this year are attracting labor and the timely delivery of parts and materials needed to service equipment.
Earnest said acquiring and retaining adequate seasonal employees at all ten of the agency’s locations has been a challenge and has hampered their ability to consistently operate on a multi-shift basis. He notes that the agency is implementing a number of incentives to attract new employees including pay increases, shift flexibility and other incentives to overcome current shortfalls and improve office operations.
Earnest said that he and all of the agency’s employees are aware of how important it is to provide timely classing data for their customers. He added that they are working hard to overcome the current challenges preventing them from meeting their goals for service to producers.
PCG and NCC have been working closely with officials from USDA AMS’s Cotton Division on operational issues the classing offices are currently having and will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly.
A copy of the full letter from Earnest to industry stakeholders can be found here.
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