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's Statement: Limited Payments to Hog Producers
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) issued the following statement regarding Friday's Clinton Administration announcement of limited payments to hog producers:
"Weather and market forces have taken a disastrous toll on livestock producers with clear, personal consequences to their futures. The Administration's plan to shift dollars around sadly amounts to only a drop in the bucket. It is hard to understand how these limited, direct payments will solve problems involving hundreds of millions of animals."
"The Administration is focusing today on a tiny portion of the comprehensive price problem and is ignoring the wide range of longstanding struggles throughout the livestock industry."
"This $50 million is too small the fix the problems that face the pork industry, but noticeably missed when transferred from funding that provides vital support to dozens of other commodities and nutrition programs, such as the school lunch program. It is hard to see how this move is the most prudent form of assistance they could have found."