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USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Provides Update on Cotton Classing Issues

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.

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