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 Farm Bill Commodity Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to review proposals to amend the program crop provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill.
"Today, we heard in detail from agricultural processors and major farm groups about what kind of commodity title provisions they would like to see in the next Farm Bill and what their members think about the current farm safety net structure," said Representative David Scott of Georgia, who chaired the hearing in place of Representative Bob Etheridge. "Given the tight budget baseline we are facing for farm programs, their testimony and insight will be helpful to us as we write a Farm Bill that works for all sectors of American agriculture."
"Much of what we do in Congress directly impacts the actual commodity producer, but it also has a profound affect on the agricultural processing industry," said Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerry Moran of Kansas. "We must be cognizant that as we develop a farm safety net for the next five years, we do not implement policy that curtails growth and investment in the agricultural processing industry because this is where many farmers and ranchers turn to market their crops."
The Subcommittee heard testimony from two panels of witnesses representing commodity users and processors, as well as the heads of two major farm organizations, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union.
This is the second hearing reviewing the commodity title held by the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee this year. The subcommittee will be one of six House Agriculture subcommittees involved in reauthorization of farm programs in the Farm Bill, including the billÆs commodity title, Title I. Many of the provisions in the current Farm Bill will expire in September of 2007.
The opening statements of all the witnesses are available on the Committee website. A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website in 4-6 weeks.
- Mr. Joseph Nicosia, Second Vice-President, American Cotton Shippers Association, Cordova, Tennessee
- Mr. Joseph Kapraun, Financial Planning/Marketing Manager, GROWMARK, Inc., on behalf of National Grain and Feed Association, Bloomington, Illinois
- Mr. Rick L. Schwein, Chairman, North American MillersÆ Association, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
- Ms. Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association, Washington, D.C.
- Mr. Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Washington, D.C.
- Mr. Tom Buis, President, National Farmers Union, Washington, D.C.