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: Protect Farmers from Costly Regulations
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Rick Crawford explains why small farmers and ranchers should be exempted from regulations under the Oil Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule. The SPCC regulations mandate costly structural changes for farmers and ranchers that store fuel on their operations. The Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act would ensure that regulations take into account a producer's risk and create logical exemptions for small farmers and ranchers.
Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.
"Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency quietly extended the compliance date for its oil spill containment rule. This rule would require farmers and ranchers who store fuel on their property to make costly improvements to their storage tanks.
"Although the rule has been delayed, farmers and ranchers are still worried about the staggering costs they will incur when the EPA does implement this regulation.
"To combat the EPA’s spill containment rule and to protect small farmers and ranchers, I have introduced the FUELS Act. This bill would take into consideration a producer’s spill risk and financial resources, and give farms more reasonable exemptions from this regulation.
"Farmers keep fuel on hand to run tractors, combines, irrigators and other machinery necessary to run their operations and produce food for America. They raise their families and earn an honest living by taking care of our natural resources. If anyone understands the importance of preserving our environment for future generations, it is America’s farmers.
"Regulations should reflect that reality, and not burden family farms with unrealistic requirements."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.