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 Federal Crop Insurance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Chairman Jerry Moran convened the second in a series of two hearings to review the federal crop insurance program. Federal crop insurance is designed to help agricultural producers mitigate unavoidable risks such as adverse weather, natural disasters, disease and insect infestation that directly affect the agriculture industry.
“The goal of American farmers is to be profitable enough to be able to pay all the bills and still have something left for their families,” said Chairman Moran. “A farmer can use every available means to reach that goal: invest in high quality seed, implement the recommended best management practices, and use every bit of new technology available to increase yields, but no amount of technology can protect a farmer’s crops from an early freeze, floods, drought, wildfire or plant disease. The variable nature of farming is one of the driving reasons many producers choose to purchase crop insurance to defray some of the inherent risk.”
The federal crop insurance program was created in 1930 and has undergone significant legislative reform in subsequent years. The Federal Cop Insurance Act of 1980 created a unique partnership between private insurance companies and the federal government within the crop insurance program. The program underwent significant changes and improvements as result of the Congress passing the Agricultural Risk Protection Act in 2000. These changes helped make crop insurance more affordable for farmers and increase participation rates.
“Crop insurance is an integral part of our producers’ operations and it is the goal of this Subcommittee to ensure that the opportunity to participate in the program is afforded to every producer and ensure that it is administered efficiently and effectively,” said Chairman Moran.
In mid-March the Subcommittee heard from the Administration and industry representatives about the state of the crop insurance industry from an administrative perspective. Today’s hearing provided the Subcommittee with an opportunity to gather feedback from producers about the delivery and implementation of the program.
Witness testimony is available on the Committee website. A full transcript of the hearing will be available on the Committee website 4-6 weeks following the hearing.
The Honorable John Hoeven, Governor of North Dakota, Bismarck, North Dakota
Mr. George Lamont, Apple Producer, Lamont Fruit Farm, Inc., Albion, New York, on behalf of the U.S. Apple Association
Mr. Steve Baccus, President, Kansas Farm Bureau, Minneapolis, Kansas
Mr. Mike Clemens, Chairman, National Sunflower Association and Corn, Wheat and Soybean Producer, Wimbledon, North Dakota, on behalf of the American Soybean Association, National Barley Growers Association, National Sunflower Association, and U.S. Canola Association
Mr. Will Rousseau, Chairman, Western Growers Association, Tolleson, Arizona
Mr. Steven Pigg, Chairman, Public Policy Action Team, National Corn Grower’s Association, Bushnell, Illinois
Dr. Chad Hart, Agriculture Economist, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Dr. G. A. (Art) Barnaby, Professor of Agricultural Economics, Research and Extension, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Dr. Keith H. Coble, Agricultural Economist, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi
Dr. Barry J. Barnett, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia