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: Failure to Act on Trade Agreements Equals Lost Opportunities for Agriculture
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas, discusses the need to capitalize on recent developments with tangible action on the free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Every day the U.S. delays implementing these agreements, there are lost opportunities for job creation and economic growth. Chairman Lucas encourages President Obama to do the work necessary to ensure they are implemented by mid-year.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"The news last week that President Obama was making plans to move forward with the Colombia free trade agreement was encouraging and long overdue.
"The President’s inaction on the three pending trade agreements has cost rural America in lost sales and unnecessary tariffs. We can quantify the cost of delay. On $2.6 billion in lost exports, the additional economic activity could have been another $3.8 billion for our economy.
"Additionally, we are losing ground to our fiercest competitors who are racing to implement their own agreements with Colombia and other key markets.
"Each and every American can benefit from opening markets for our exports. American farmers and ranchers are so efficient they are able to produce more than enough food to feed this nation. U.S. agricultural exports currently support nearly 900,000 jobs. And, historically, agriculture has worked hard to maintain a trade surplus even during the most recent economic downturn.
"The importance of ratifying the Colombia agreement is simple. It not only would strengthen relations with an important ally and trading partner, but would open the door for more than $900 million in previously untapped market access.
"We cannot afford any more delays. It’s time to move forward on these agreements."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee.