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 Subcommittee Holds Second Hearing to Review Crop Insurance for Specialty Crop Producers
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Jerry Moran, Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, today chaired a hearing to review crop insurance for specialty crop producers, including apples, sweet potatoes and floral products.
“This is the second hearing we have held which focuses on the unique situation of specialty crop producers,” Moran said. “It is important for members of the Subcommittee, whether we have these particular crops in our districts or not, to learn about how crop insurance can best serve these producers. While we have made significant progress since the passage of the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000, it can still be challenging for some producers to obtain sufficient coverage.”
The subcommittee heard from the following witnesses:
• Mr. Johnny Barnes, Producer, Spring Hope, North Carolina, on behalf of the The United States Sweet Potato Council, Inc.
• Mr. Jim Bittner, Producer, Burt, New York, on behalf of the U.S. Apple Association
• Ms. Lin Schmale, Senior Director for Government Relations, Society of American Florists, Alexandria, Virginia
“As we examine options to help producers manage risks we will seek to address issues that can make crop insurance a more effective risk management tool for farmers and ranchers nationwide,” Moran continued.
Crop insurance is an increasingly important part of the risk management strategy for many farmers. Due to the growing interest in crop insurance, the Subcommittee has held a series of hearings to review products, coverage, and delivery by commodity and region. Additional hearings are planned for the future to look at possible enhancements which could make the program even more useful to producers.