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's Crop Insurance Improvements Timed for Action in Subcommittee, Committee and House
With House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest committed to holding hearings on the full extent of market and weather conditions affecting producers this season, legislation for permanent improvements in production and revenue protection is set for subcommittee consideration Wednesday morning. Full committee action is expected the following week. The resulting improved and expanded crop insurance proposal will be ready for a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in early August.
Risk Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Ewing (R-IL) will convene subcommittee consideration of proposed crop insurance improvements on Wednesday, July 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the main committee hearing room, 1300 Longworth House Office Building.
"The House Agriculture Committee will act on both long-term policy improvements for producers in addition to current income needs," said Combest. "I want producers to be able to look to the next crop year with a new crop insurance safety net that provides better coverage at lower cost, flexible policies that meet their needs, and the option of insuring against market losses. I aim to see that producers are around next season to manage risk with much better choices than they have had up until now."
Committee Chairman Combest is working to have Congress implement permanent crop insurance improvements in conjunction with a series of actions addressing producers' needs for the current season.
The crop insurance measure noticeably improves the current risk management structure with better coverage for both production and revenue in the next crop year:
Affordable coverage at every level, with strong incentives to purchase higher levels of protection, and new flexibility for producers to choose the level of coverage that best meets their needs
More affordable policies to protect farmers against price and income loss, in addition to production loss
Encouragement of greater flexibility and diversity of coverage by expanding policy development and providing incentives for the creation of new policies.
Insurance levels better reflected in production capacity by permitting all farmers the opportunity to drop 1 to 2 years of low yields. Introduction of a livestock pilot program to test the effectiveness of risk management tools to protect livestock producers.Strong compliance and enforcement provisions against fraud, waste and abuse through substantial sanctions for violations and monitoring by the Farm Service Agency