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: It's Time for Action on Trade Agreements
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, Chairman Frank Lucas, discusses the importance of passing the three pending trade agreements without any further delays because they will expand U.S. exports and create jobs. The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing to review these agreements on Thursday, May 12.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"The facts speak for themselves when it comes to the benefits of the trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama.
"It’s a win for America’s farmers and ranchers.
"Consider the following:
- The agreements are worth more than $2.5 billion in new market access for American agricultural exports.
- U.S. agricultural exports currently support nearly 900,000 jobs.
- For every dollar of goods we export, another $1.48 is created in activities such as processing, finance, shipping, and packaging of agricultural goods.
"However, the cost of delay on these agreements is clear, too.
"While we wait for passage, U.S. market share is slipping because our competitors are gaining ground with their own trade agreements.
"For example, Argentina and Brazil already have agreements with Colombia. The Korea - European Union agreement is expected to be implemented in July. And, Canada has completed its own agreement with Panama.
"This week, Members of the Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing to examine our trade agreements and the issues surrounding their implementation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will be testifying.
"The message I want them to take away is this: it’s time for action on these trade agreements."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each week from the House Agriculture Committee.