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 Examines Specialty Crop Programs for the 2013 Farm Bill
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to examine specialty crop priorities for the 2013 Farm Bill. The Subcommittee heard from growers and representatives of the specialty crop community on the effectiveness of the current programs within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction.
Last summer, the Agriculture Committee reported H.R. 6083, the Federal Agriculture, Reform, and Risk Management Act (FARRM). The FARRM Act achieved $35 billion in savings to reduce the federal deficit, while expanding popular and successful programs that recognize the diversity of U.S. specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops.
“Growth in the specialty crops sector can play an integral role in our economic recovery. As we continue to examine farm policy and prepare to reauthorize the farm bill, it is essential that we expand on our past successes with programs that help grow our nation's economy,” said Chairman Austin Scott (R-GA-8).
"This hearing is an important step forward in crafting a twenty-first century farm bill that invests in programs that generate significant domestic crop value. Under the current farm bill, specialty crop programs that finance research and encourage value added production, not direct payments to farmers, receive only a fraction of overall funding. However, specialty crops as a whole make up nearly half of all domestic farm gate crop value. As the House Agriculture Committee works to reauthorize the farm bill, we must recognize the need to substantially fund our specialty crop programs in order to enhance the competitiveness of American agriculture and strengthen it going forward," said Ranking Member Kurt Schrader (D-OR-5).
Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.
Ms. Sarah M. Frey-Talley, President and CEO, Frey Farms, Keenes, Illinois
Mr. William L. Brim, President and Owner, Lewis & Taylor Farms, Inc., Tifton, Georgia
Mr. Barry Bushue, Vice President, American Farm Bureau Federation, President, Oregon Farm Bureau Federation, Boring, Oregon