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.
Committee Marks-up Grains Standards and Mandatory Price Reporting Reauthorization Bills
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Agriculture today marked-up two reauthorization bills: the Mandatory Price Reporting Act and the Grains Standards Act set to expire later this year. Both reauthorizations were completed without amendment and had strong bi-partisan and industry support.
H.R. 3408 reauthorizes the Livestock Mandatory Reporting (MPR) Act of 1999 and amends the swine reporting provision of that Act. The reauthorization contains several minor changes involving hog price reporting that were agreed to by a coalition of producer/agriculture groups including the National Pork Producers Council, the American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
H.R. 3421 provides a five-year reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act, facilitating the official inspection at export port locations of grain required or authorized to be inspected under this Act. The reauthorization includes language granting the Secretary of Agriculture new authority to use private entities to perform official export inspections. “This new authority for private entities to conduct export inspections under government supervision is similar to the authority Congress granted USDA in 1976 for private entities to conduct domestic inspection. Creating the opportunity for increased efficiency and flexibility for export inspection will improve our competitive position with other grain-exporting countries,” said Chairman Goodlatte.
Copies of H.R. 3421 and H.R. 3408, as reported out of the House Committee on Agriculture, can be found on the Committee website.