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: H.R. 1633 Gives Farmers and Ranchers Regulatory Certainty
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas discusses H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act, a bipartisan bill that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating farm dust that is already regulated at the state or local level. Although EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has announced that her agency does not intend to change the current standards, EPA retains the authority to do so. Furthermore, under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to review these standards every five years. The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act gives farmers and ranchers a certain exemption from more burdensome standards, which will allow them to continue investing in their businesses with confidence.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"This week, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act. This bipartisan legislation ensures farmers and ranchers won’t be subjected to excessive regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA currently has the ability to tighten regulatory standards for dust under the Clean Air Act.
"For farmers and ranchers, dust is a fact of life. Driving a tractor down a dirt road and tilling a field on a dry day could put producers out of compliance if the EPA changes its regulations.
"For months, Members of Congress—particularly Members of the Agriculture Committee—pressed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on this issue. Finally, she stated that the EPA does not intend to change the current standards.
"However, the fact remains that should she change her mind, the EPA has the ability to put more severe standards in place. In years past, the EPA has put out final regulations that differed from their proposed standards.
"Should the EPA require stricter standards, farmers, ranchers, and rural economies could be devastated. On dry days, production could come to a standstill as producers focus on controlling dust rather than producing food.
"H.R. 1633 gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they need to invest in the future without worrying about oppressive regulations."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.