Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
The Ag Minute: Deadline Extended, But Problem Remains
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Jean Schmidt, discusses the urgency for Congress to pass H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011. Rep. Schmidt is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture and has helped lead efforts for the bill's passage through the U.S. House of Representatives. On Monday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals extended the effective date of its order that requires pesticides users to obtain an extra permit for pesticide applications to October 31, 2011. However, Rep. Schmidt explains that the extension does not solve the underlying problem and a legislative fix is needed.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"This week the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011.
"I am proud to have helped write this bill, which eliminates a costly and duplicative permitting requirement for the application of pesticides - the result of a misguided court decision.
"This permit requirement is an economic burden to all - from the federal government to state agencies, from farmers to foresters, from public health agencies to every day citizens.
"H.R. 872 makes clear that it was never the intent of Congress to require this redundant layer of bureaucracy. Especially since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) already comprehensively regulates the distribution, sale and use of pesticides.
"Time is of the essence for Congress to act and the clock is ticking.
"Although the court extended the effective date of its order to October 31, it did not fix the underlying problem. The impact on all pesticides users required to obtain this extra permit will be the same in October as it is today. There is no difference in the burden, cost, or real impact on their livelihoods.
"The only thing this extension provides is six more months of regulatory uncertainty.
"Congress has the opportunity to fix this problem now. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 872."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each week from the House Agriculture Committee.