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.
Chairman Celebrates Biotechnology in Agriculture
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte spoke at a press conference celebrating the 10th year of biotechnology crop planting in the United States. In those ten years, 1 billion acres of biotechnology crops have been planted and harvested. The press event was part of the House Biotechnology Caucus’s Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Exhibition that featured visual presentations by a variety of national and international biotechnology companies. The exhibition was designed to educate policymakers about the role of biotechnology in modern agriculture and possibilities for the future.
Goodlatte, who also serves as Co-Chair of the House Biotechnology Caucus, was joined by fellow Co-Chairs Reps. Bobby Rush, John Shimkus, and Marion Berry as well grower leaders from around the nation in recognizing the significant role biotechnology has played in agriculture worldwide.
“Agricultural biotechnology is one of the most promising developments in modern science. For 10 years and a billion acres, farmers have embraced this technology because it can help to provide answers to the problems of world hunger, improve our environment, and enhance farm productivity and profitability,” said Goodlatte.
Biotechnology crops provide a number of economic and environmental benefits. According to the Council for Biotechnology Information, application of biotechnology has translated into savings of 1 billion tons of topsoil annually and has reduced the amount of fuel used by farmers by 309 million gallons. Biotechnology has also decreased pesticide applications by 46 million pounds and is saving U.S. consumers $3.5 billion in water treatment and management costs. Biotechnology has enabled producers worldwide to produce higher yields on existing land. In China, biotech cotton yields averaged 24 percent higher than conventional cotton and in South Africa, farmers planting biotech corn saw yields increase 10 percent.