Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
Committee Invites Participation at Farm Policy Hearings
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- March, April and May farm policy field hearings of the House Agriculture Committee will provide producers several opportunities to participate. Although each hearing may last for up to four hours, full discussion of producers' plans and Committee Members' questions will limit the number of witnesses who can testify at the hearings.
Producers may be invited to offer testimony as a witness, or if not selected, producers may either submit specific views for the record, or e-mail informal comments to the Committee. Producers who are not able to attend one of the ten regional hearings may listen through the Ag Committee's web site agriculture.house.gov on the Internet.
To be considered as a potential witness at the hearing, producers should include information about their agricultural experience and their farming operations. The Committee will select witnesses with a breadth of experience who are qualified to provide specific testimony about federal farm policy, and answer questions posed by Agriculture Committee Members about policy alternatives.
The first three committee hearings have been scheduled for Monday, March 6 in Lubbock, Texas at the Civic Center Banquet Hall; Friday, March 17 in Memphis, Tennessee at Agricenter International; and Saturday, March 18 in Auburn, Alabama at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Dates will also be announced soon for the additional hearing locations (listed alphabetically): Boise, Idaho; Kutztown, Pennsylvania; Peoria, Illinois; Raleigh, North Carolina; Sacramento, California; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and West Chester, Ohio.
Those who are interested in testifying at the field hearings in March for Lubbock, Memphis or Auburn, must immediately send a letter addressed to the Chief Clerk, c/o House Committee on Agriculture at 1301 Longworth Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. If contacted to testify for the hearing, producers are required under the Rules of the House of Representatives to file an affidavit disclosing the amount and source of each federal contract or grant they receive (disclosure of farm payments or USDA loans is not required). A brief biography of the witness must also be included. Also, those witnesses will need to provide 100 copies of their testimony in advance.
Producers who are unable to testify at a field hearing may instead submit written testimony for the official record within 30 days after the hearing in their region by including their name, address, phone number and 10 copies of their testimony in their letter to the Agriculture Committee's Chief Clerk.