The California Cotton Ginners Association
PIONEERING FOR AN INDUSTRY
Recognition of the needs of the cotton ginning industry and developing programs to satisfy those needs has been the tradition of the California Cotton Ginners Association since its inception in 1973.
In the first sixty years of this century, the cotton ginning industry was part of a much simpler era. Problems facing the industry were not as numerous as they are today. There were far fewer government regulations and restrictions.
During the early years, the cooperative ginners formed the “Cooperative Ginners Association” and were actively engaged in both legislative and educational problems of the industry. The independent ginners continued to remain unorganized and met their needs individually. On some occasions, two or three independent ginners would meet informally to unite their efforts toward a mutual goal. But for the most part, it was each man for himself.
In the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, Federal and State governments placed a new emphasis on drastic change in the American workplace. New agencies were formed and old ones revived. New regulations were written with little input from the industries being regulated. In some cases, where testimony was taken from the industry, it was ignored completely. The results were regulations that could not be met by industry, nor policed by government.
In 1971, a few ginners began meeting. They were concerned over a series of regulations being imposed by State and Federal agencies. Ginners attending those early meetings were intent on abandoning the old “lone wolf” policy which had become so prevalent in the industry. What they envisioned was an organization that would represent a united front.
And so it was that the California Cotton Ginners Association was formed. Today, the California Cotton Ginners Association is a dynamic, aggressive Association, whose members currently own 38 and operated 38 ginning plants in 2013. They gin 100% of all cotton produced annually in California. Of the gins, 14 are saw gins and 17 are roller gins and 7 are combo gins (both saw and roller).
Through the years, the Association has changed with the times. Today, CCGA jointly owns and shares offices and staff of four with the Cotton Growers Association in Fresno, California near the Fresno Airport. The Association has also retained over the years the best medical, legal and political consultants and advisors possible. CCGA has become the innovator of change for the ginning industry throughout the entire country.
The California Cotton Ginners Association represents 100% of the entire cotton ginning industry in California. Membership in the Association is classified as either “Regular” or “Associate”.
“Regular” memberships, which stand at 23, are limited to “any cotton ginning firm which is engaged in the ginning of cotton during the previous years ginning season”.
“Associate” memberships, which currently stand at 49, are limited to “any individual or firm which is not engaged in the ginning of cotton during the previous calendar year but which individual or firm provides products or services related to the cotton ginning industry.” CCGA Associate members include, but are not limited to, machinery manufacturers, insurance representatives, bankers and suppliers of related products.
ORGANIZED TO SERVE
The California Cotton Ginners Association is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by its membership. The Board consists of 15 members from throughout the state. Committees are maintained to advise the Board and represent all aspects of the cotton ginning industry. There are currently 3 Advisors to the board including a representative from the Cotton Growers Association, as well as representatives from Calcot and the Western Cotton Shippers Association.
CCGA members are selected to serve on the numerous committees: Executive, Joint Steering (in conjunction with Growers Association), Health & Safety, Gin Waste, Environmental, Ginners School, Energy, Elections and Annual Meeting committees, for example.
At the heart of any successful organization lies an effective communication program. Each CCGA member receives a timely and informative newsletter which keeps its readers aware of issues affecting the ginning industry as well as the Association’s current activities. In addition to the newsletters, an updated and active website (www.ccgga.org) plus e-mail and faxes are used to keep its members up to date on the issues.
CCGA, at its annual meeting in February or March each year, strives to update all regular members on the business of the Association for the previous year as well as future plans. In May, the Annual Industry Meeting is held for regular and associate members to come together to hear and share information on industry activities, changes and challenges.
Each year, the CCGA holds a special training school for the cotton ginners. This school is attended by approximately 200 ginners, gin managers, gin employees and associates who are brought up-to-date on the latest safety and labor laws, safety equipment, ginning equipment and many more ideas on how to gin cotton better and more safely.
The CCGA is in constant contact with other agricultural agencies and associations, working together to keep others aware of progress the industry has made and problems facing it now and in the future. In 1990, the Ginners and California Cotton Growers Association reached agreement while maintaining their individual organizational autonomies, to operate with the same full time staff and share operational expenses. Today, they jointly own their office facility.
The CCGA maintains an active involvement in the legislative process, guided by the policies established by the Board of Directors. To keep abreast of new laws and changes in rules affecting the cotton ginning industry, a constant vigil is maintained in Sacramento and Washington D.C. To help in this process, the CCGA retains professional political advisors and advocates in Sacramento and works with the National Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Council in the Washington arena. The Ginners and Growers also share, maintain and fund a very active state political action committee (PAC).
Members of the Association and staff members are up front, testifying before various agencies and boards, telling the cotton ginner’s story. As a result, the industry has received many positive resolutions from the State and Federal Agencies that affect our industry. By its participation in the National Cotton Ginners Association and its close contact with the National Cotton Council, the CCGA continues to be very effective in maintaining its input into the National political scene.
Although many things have changed over the past 35 years of this Association, one thing that has not changed is the CCGA’s philosophy of recognizing the needs of its membership and then acting to satisfy those needs. One needs only to look at the many past and continuing accomplishments of this organization to realize just how successful it has been in serving the entire ginning industry.