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.
Ag Committee Examines Economic Trends & Highlights Regulatory Burdens on Producers
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing to review the state of the farm economy. Members of the committee heard testimony from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and questioned him on a variety of topics including the many regulatory burdens affecting the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers. The committee also discussed economic trends in prices, input costs, and farm output.
"The agriculture economy is highly cyclical and it changes like the weather in western Oklahoma: fast, sharp, and without notice. This reality helps explain why the mood in farm country today is both upbeat and apprehensive. This fact, along with experience, offer a cautionary note to anyone who might be tempted to cite current economic conditions on the farm as the basis for setting long term farm policies," said Chairman Frank Lucas.
"The farm economy is good, and has been solid through the past few years. This is due, in part I believe, to the farm bill that we passed in 2008. I look forward to working together to provide farmers with five more years of certainty by passing another strong farm bill in 2012 and today’s hearing was a good place to start," said Ranking Member Collin Peterson.
Written testimony provided by the witnesses is available below and can be found on the committee's website by clicking here.
The Honorable, Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.