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 To Review LDPs with USDA Secretary, June 16 Hearing Set
To give producers a full understanding of a nationally uniform LDP rate under consideration by USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing on Wednesday, June 16. Secretary Glickman today accepted the invitation of Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) for the USDA Secretary to testify at the hearing to explain proposed changes in the Loan Deficiency Payment (LDP) program.
"Producers would be directly affected by changes contemplated by the Secretary of Agriculture's nationwide LDP change," said Combest.
The LDP -- originally called a producer option payment -- was designed to allow a producer to receive the equivalent benefit of the loan rate without forcing the producer to put the commodity under loan. When prices are below the loan rate, the producer is given the option of receiving the LDP instead of putting the commodity under loan. The USDA Secretary is considering a national uniform LDP rate.
The Committee on Agriculture's hearing may be heard as it occurs from the Committee's web site beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, June 16.