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: Market Access Must Be Enforced
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Rick Crawford discusses the recent trade setback with one of our major markets for U.S. meat products. Russia's closed market illustrates the need for effective enforcement by our trade agencies. International trade rules require policies that are based on sound science.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"A major market for U.S. meat exports has been effectively closed. Russia announced a ban on U.S. meat imports produced with the feed additive ractopamine. This ban is not supported by science.
"Our meat exports contribute $832 billion annually to the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, they face these types of arbitrary trade barriers when countries decide to protect their domestic industry.
"Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has claimed to be committed to fair and open trade practices, but closure of their market for unfounded reasons is a direct violation of their agreement.
"Unfortunately the administration was unsuccessful in heading off Russia’s move, which is now costing our producers significantly. The U.S. exports over $600 million in beef, pork, and poultry products to Russia each year. Further, Russia’s decision has already emboldened other countries, like China, to follow suit.
"The administration had promised our farmers and ranchers that they would benefit from Russia’s inclusion in the WTO. Now the administration must take the necessary steps to ensure full access to this important market."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.