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 Reviews Availability of Credit in Rural America
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research held a hearing to examine the financing structure of renewable energy sources. Congressman Tim Holden of Pennsylvania is Chairman of the Subcommittee.
"Farmers and ranchers now have access to credit from several sectors, and we must ensure that the future credit needs of rural America will still be met in a changing agricultural landscape," said Chairman Holden. "Today, we heard the views of government representatives, lenders, and borrowers, and their information and ideas about the availability of credit in farm country will be helpful to us as we prepare to write the Farm Bill this year."
"Both the Farm Credit System and commercial banks have done an outstanding job servicing their communities' credit needs," said Ranking Member Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. "It is Congress' job to ensure that credit needs are met in a manner that provides fair and equitable competition. We must enable rural America to keep pace with the rest of the world."
The subcommittee heard testimony from two panels of witnesses. The first panel included USDA Farm Service Agency and Farm Credit Administration representatives. The second panel was comprised of representatives from banking associations, cooperatives and rural coalitions that assist beginning farmers.
The Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research Subcommittee will be one of six House Agriculture subcommittees involved in reauthorization of farm programs in the Farm Bill, including the billÆs credit title, Title V.
The opening statements of all eight witnesses are available on the Committee website, and a full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.