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.
Senate Presented with Path to Speedy Farm Bill Conclusion
Arkansas Senator Tim Hutchinson moves for vote on House-based bill
December 19, 2001 – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest commended Arkansas Senator Tim Hutchinson for giving farmers a real prospect of getting a finalized farm bill this year by urging the Senate to pass the House-based farm bill. The Hutchinson provision already has the bi-partisan support of Senators who cosponsored the measure when it was introduced in the Senate November 9. Ag Chairman Combest noted the Hutchinson provision is more than 95 percent identical to the October 5th House-passed "Farm Security Act of 2001," and Senate passage of the Hutchinson provision is the only chance to finalize a farm bill this year.
"Senator Tim Hutchinson has worked for producers in a positive, practical manner each step of the way to move the Senate to completion of a farm bill, and today is holding forth a light for Senators on the path to a speedy conclusion of the farm bill," said Combest. "Farmers and their lenders need the certainty of a new farm bill as they prepare now for the coming crop year. Senators can do a lot to ease farmers' worries now and help our rural communities by passing the Hutchinson provision today."
Like the House-passed Farm Security Act, the bill introduced by Senators Hutchinson, Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Zell Miller (D-GA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and John Breaux (D-LA) not only provides for a strong safety net, but it maintains planting flexibility and avoids harmful market distortions. Also, like the House-passed bill, the option offered for Senate vote today complies with WTO commitments and with the Budget Resolution passed by Congress while increasing investment in conservation programs to the highest levels ever.
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