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.
Subcommittee Discusses the State of Kansas Agriculture in Central Kansas Field Hearing
SALINA, Kan. - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a field hearing in Salina, Kansas, to discuss the state of agriculture in Kansas. Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina is Chairman of the Subcommittee.
Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran of Kansas also took part in the hearing. Congressman Moran represents Kansas’s 1st District, which contains Salina as well as much of central and western Kansas. Representatives Nancy Boyda of Kansas, Steve King of Iowa, and Adrian Smith of Nebraska also participated in the hearing, which took place at the College Center at Kansas State University's Salina Campus.
“In the coming weeks, this Subcommittee will begin the hard work of putting together one of the most important pieces of this or any Farm Bill, Title One, the Commodity Title,” said Chairman Etheridge. “Today’s hearing, to review the state of agriculture here in Kansas and neighboring states, provided these witnesses with a unique chance to get the last word in before we begin the heavy lifting that is the Commodity Title.”
“Not every Kansan is a farmer, but every Kansan is affected by agriculture,” Congressman Moran said. “For our state, the Farm Bill may be the single most important piece of legislation Congress will consider this year. It was good to hear from Kansas farmers today and be able to take their common sense approach back with us to Washington, D.C., as we begin drafting the Commodity Title of the 2007 Farm Bill.”
The Subcommittee heard testimony from nine witnesses who discussed the major issues confronting agricultural producers in Kansas, including recovering from weather related disasters, export barriers to Kansas-produced agricultural goods and high energy costs. Kansas ranks fifth among all states in the market value of agricultural products sold and is a national leader in cattle, wheat and grain sorghum production.
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.
Mr. Troy Dumler, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Garden City, Kansas
Mr. Bill Miller, Cattle Producer, Princeton, Kansas
Mr. Steve Rome, Crop Farmer, Hugoton, Kansas
Mr. Brian Starck, Corn, Soybean, and Wheat Farmer, Sow Producer, Fairbury, Nebraska
Mr. John Pracht, Grain and Cattle Producer, Westphalia, Kansas
Mr. Barry Childs, Consultant and Part Owner, Farm Management Services, Inc., Irrigated and Dryland Grain Farmer, Cow/Calf Producer, Bellville, Kansas
Mr. Gary Parker, Soybean, Wheat, and Milo Farmer, Moran, Kansas
Mr. Mark Meisinger, Wheat Farmer, Lincolnville, Kansas
Mr. Lee Robbins, Cow/Calf Producer and Hay Farmer, Yates Center, Kansas