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.
Rep. Moran Brings Congressional Hearing to Kansas
At the request of U.S. Representative Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), the House Agriculture Committee on Saturday, September 18 will convene a field hearing at the Kansas State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson at 10:00 a.m. Central Time in the 4-H Encampment Building. Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-Texas) said the testimony from producers in Kansas' "Big First" congressional district will help shape the official record for quick action on the current farm economy.
"Lost market values and adverse weather have hurt producers across the country, and a timely response from Congress will be based on crop and regional needs on the record before the House Agriculture Committee," said Combest. "Saturday's hearing from the Kansas perspective is well-timed with what we will have heard earlier in the week from farm and commodity groups, as well as from the Secretary of Agriculture. Bringing this Agriculture Committee hearing to Kansas brings home the situation shared by producers nationwide, and amplified in Kansas."
Kansas' representative on the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Moran wanted Members of the Committee to hear what producers in Kansas have been telling him. "With farmers and ranchers enduring the worst farm crisis since the 1980's, I appreciate Chairman Combest's support and the involvement of Members of the Agriculture Committee coming to Kansas to see first-hand how the low prices are affecting rural America," said Moran. "The current agriculture crisis is more than numbers and estimates, it is about real people. I hope this hearing will impress upon my colleagues the need for immediate action to assist with the survival of a generation of farmers and ranchers."
The Kansas field hearing is scheduled to include testimony from USDA Chief Economist Keith Collins, Kansas City Federal Reserve Board Agricultural Economist Mark Drabenstott, representatives from the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Farmers' Union, Kansas chapter of Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE), and producers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska