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: Proposed GIPSA Rule Needs More Time, Discussion
Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Randy Neugebauer, discusses the proposed new rule by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration and some of the concerns American producers are raising about its potential impact. Rep. Neugebauer, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, and his Agriculture Committee colleague Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer recently sent a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for an extension on the comment period for the proposed rule. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of members on the Agriculture Committee, including Ranking Member Frank Lucas.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"We all believe fair and transparent markets are necessary for our producers, packers, processors, retailers, and consumers. It is vital that the Packers and Stockyards Act be strictly enforced.
"However, many of our producers are raising concerns about the administration’s recently-proposed Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards rule addressing our nation’s livestock markets, also known as the GIPSA rule.
"For starters, the GIPSA rule comment period is only 60 days and will close before the Department of Agriculture and Department of Justice workshops, created to explore this issue, are even completed.
"The other concern is that the administration’s economic analysis is inadequate. It fails to make a case that the rule is needed or that it will benefit our producers.
"And finally, the rule’s far reaching scope might have been more appropriate as a legislative proposal, which would be subject to debate and discussion.
"For these reasons, Rep. Luetkemeyer and I have requested that the 60 day comment period be extended to 120 days on the rule. Many of our colleagues from both sides of the aisle have joined our effort.
"We owe it to our constituents to ensure that the policy process is fair and transparent so that the path of good intentions does not lead us to the land of unintended consequences."
The Ag Minute is Ranking Member Lucas's weekly radio address that is released each Tuesday from the House Agriculture Committee Republicans.