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.
Combest Subcommittee to Study Agricultural Credit at Field Hearing in Lubbock, Texas
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Calling a strong and viable farm credit system a key goal of agriculture policy makers in an era of declining government support, Rep. Larry Combest, Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Resource Conservation, and Research, released a list of witnesses for his subcommittee field hearing on agricultural credit in Lubbock, Texas on Friday, February 21.
A complete witness list for the subcommittee's field hearing - to be held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 21, 1997 in the Plains Cooperative Oil Mill, 2901 Avenue A, Lubbock, Texas - follows this release. The witness list is subject to change.
"A stable farm credit infrastructure of USDA loan programs, commercial banks, and the Farm Credit System is critical to the future of many agricultural producers and to a dependable food supply. America has the nation's most efficient, productive farmers, but farming is a capital-intensive business. The extent to which farmers survive in this era of declining government support and market uncertainties will depend, in some degree at least, on the availability of credit," Combest said.
"I'm delighted that we have assembled such a diverse list of witnesses who will be able to shed light on a number of different programs from both Texas' and a national perspective. I expect to cover a lot of ground," Combest said.
"In the first panel, USDA's representatives should speak to the status of direct and guaranteed loan program portfolios, including outstanding principal and interest, delinquency rates, and loan losses. I also expect to hear about the number of borrowers affected by the graduation requirement in the Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992, as well as an update on implementation of the Certified and Preferred Lender Programs. Finally, we will discuss implementation of the credit reform provisions in the 1996 Farm Bill," Combest said.
"The second panel is comprised of commercial bankers and representatives of the Farm Credit System who can speak to their participation in USDA's guaranteed loan programs, as well as their general views on agricultural credit. The third panel consists of Small Business Administration (SBA) representatives who will discuss SBA's guaranteed loan program and its recent improvements," Combest said.
"All told, I expect a complete, in-depth discussion of the breadth of agricultural credit issues, and I suspect farmers in Texas and across the country will be better informed as a result. I know the subcommittee certainly will," Combest concluded.
Combest represents Texas' 19th Congressional District, which includes the Panhandle, South Plains, and the Permian Basin, in the U.S. House of Representatives.