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 Ways to Save with Rural Development Programs
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Timothy V. Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to identify duplicative federal rural development programs. There are at least 16 federal agencies which operate more than 88 programs relating to rural development in communities across the country. Subcommittee Members questioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Undersecretary for Rural Development and the Director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the efforts being made to streamline duplicative programs and improve coordination among agencies that administer programs.
"Given our limited resources, it's critical now more than ever that government programs operate as efficiently as possible. Today, Subcommittee Members pressed the administration for insight on how they are working to leverage current resources to benefit more communities in a tight fiscal environment. My colleagues and I want to craft the best policy possible to benefit rural America. Making these programs work better for our constituents is our top priority; clearly, much progress is needed," said Chairman Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).
"Rural America faces different challenges than those of urban communities in promoting economic development so the public-private strategy for addressing those needs often requires a distinctive approach. USDA Rural Development, with field offices throughout rural America, is well-positioned to help rural communities, businesses and entrepreneurs drive economic development. As we move forward with the 2012 Farm Bill, we must ensure that the needs of rural America are effectively and efficiently met," said Ranking Member Jim Costa (D-CA).
Written testimony provided by the witnesses is linked below.
The Honorable Dallas P. Tonsager, Under Secretary for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
Mr. William B. Shear, Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment, Government Accountability Office, Washington, D.C.