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.
Agriculture Committee Examines Structural Changes to the Farm Economy
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to review the structural changes taking place in agriculture and their impacts on the farm economy.
The committee heard testimony from a panel of three economic analysts about recent developments in the farm economy, examining both short- and long-term trends in prices and farm output. The committee also discussed rising input costs from energy prices, rising land and labor costs, and the effects of new product development like biofuels.
“A lot of us on this committee have seen with our own eyes how agriculture has changed in recent times and how it is changing today,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. “American farmers and ranchers are more productive today than ever before. They are serving new, fast-growing markets. And increasingly, farmers are eager to meet our nation’s growing fuel challenges. Today’s hearing was helpful to this committee in getting a picture of the overall agricultural landscape as we examine what current prices and trends may mean for the future.”
“Even though energy has received much attention, it should not be our only focus,” said Ranking Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. “Today, we heard about a number of factors that are influencing the agriculture economy including commodity prices, weather/drought, the declining dollar, and production problems domestically and abroad. It is critical that this committee understand the big picture so that we can put policies in place that allow all of our constituents to compete in an ever-changing global marketplace.”
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.
- Dr. Keith Collins, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
- Dr. Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.
- Dr. Pat Westhoff, Research Associate Professor, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Columbia, Missouri