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.
European Union Corn Tender Follows Committee Trade Mission to Spain
WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Smith (R-OR) today announced that U.S. corn growers will have an opportunity to sell up to 200,000 tons of corn to the European Union (EU) in a tender which follows on the heels of a committee's August trade mission to Spain.
Continuing the Agriculture Committee's efforts to open up foreign markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, Smith led an agricultural trade delegation, consisting of 6 Members of Congress, to Egypt and Spain during the August congressional recess.
In Spain, the delegation met with the Minister of Agriculture, various government officials, including representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, agricultural groups and grain importers stressing the need for Spain's support for opening additional corn tenders this year so that U.S. growers can take advantage of remaining quotas of almost one million tons. The delegation was successful in urging the Association of Spanish Cereal Traders to write to Spain's Ministry of Agriculture and request that they be provided an opportunity to purchase U.S. corn at the earliest time possible.
As a result, the EU recently announced that it will tender 200,000 tons of corn, a significant portion of which is likely to come from American growers.
"Obviously, I'm delighted that our farmers will have the opportunity to sell their corn to the European Union," Smith said, "Spain is a very important market for American farmers, and we've already lost a lot of ground due to the EU's delays in approving genetically modified crops. I'm pleased that our discussions with the Spanish government and grain traders were successful in making this tender happen."
In addition to the EU corn tender, as a result of the Committee's work, Egypt purchased 450,000 tons of U.S. wheat in two tenders valued at almost $50 million. Additional purchases of U.S. wheat are expected later this year.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District — which includes most of eastern, central, and southern Oregon — in the U.S. House of Representatives.