Compromise PACA Legislation: H.R. 1103
On August 4, 1995 the House of Representatives passed H.R.
1103, a compromise bill to reform the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act
(PACA). H.R. 1103 was then referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
H.R. 1103 would phase-out license fees for retailers and wholesale grocers,
improve PACA trust protection for suppliers of perishable commodities, provide
for monetary penalties for PACA violations, streamline program operations, and
provide more due process for businesses under investigation for PACA
violations. H.R. 1103 has the support of numerous groups including: American
Farm Bureau Federation, American Frozen Food Institute, Florida Fruit and
Vegetable Association, Western Growers Association, Food Marketing Institute,
National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association and the National Grocers
PACA was enacted in 1930 and provides for an efficient low-cost means of
resolving business disputes outside the court system. PACA also helps assure
that the sellers of perishable commodities (farmers, shippers, wholesalers and
distributors, etc.) are paid promptly by their buyers. The Department of
Agriculture administers the PACA program at no cost to the taxpayer because the
industry pays for the program's costs through annual licensing fees.
Pesticide Reform Legislation: H.R. 1627
Pesticide reform legislation, H.R. 1627 and S. 1166, has been
introduced in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate with broad
support from the food industry. H.R. 1627 has over 200 co-sponsors in the House
and S. 1166 has ten co-sponsers in the Senate. It is critically important that
Congress pass pesticide legislation this year that will reform the Delaney
Clause and address the growing lack of pesticides available for use on "minor"
crops--all fruits and vegetables.
The House Committee on Agriculture has taken action on H.R. 1627, but it cannot
report the bill to the House floor for a vote until the Commerce
Committee--which has juristiction over that portion of the bill that addresses
the Delaney Clause--has considered and passed the bill out of committee.
Major concerns for the legislation are:
replace the outdated, zero-risk Delaney Clause with a modern, science based
standard as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences;
promote the availability of safe and effective pesticides for minor use crops;
enhance EPA's ability to restrict or eliminate the use of problem pesticides
(this provision will maintain a high level of confidence in the safety of the
Immigration Reform: H.R. 2202
The House held hearings back in December of 1995 to review the
need for a new agricultural "guest" worker program.
This new program would replace the current H2-A seasonal farmworker program,
which growers have critized for being generally ineffective.
Both the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and the
House Agriculture Committee heard testimony from agricultural groups requesting
that Congress include an amendment to H.R. 2202, the legislation
designed to curb illegal immigration. This effort is necessary say the groups
because H.R. 2202 could have the effect of decreasing the supply of
Methyl Bromide: H.R. 2230
Methyl Bromide is one of the few remaining economical and effective frumigants
available for soil application or for post harvest use. Often, no efficacious
alternative to Methyl Bromide exists. Without Methyl Bromide as a pre-plant soil
fumigant, production of numerous commodities would decline dramatically and prices
in these cases would of course rise.
The Clean Air Act would cause American farmers to face a complete ban on the use of
Methyl Bromide by January 1, 2001. However, by virtue of the Clean Air Act's
linkage to international agreements, other countries will not face a concurrent ban.
Currently, developing nations would not have to reduce their use of Methyl Bromide at
all until the year 2011. This would again place American farmers at a dramatic
disadvantage in the world marketplace.
Rep. Dan Miller (R-FL) has introduced H.R. 2230 which would permit growers to use Methyl
Bromide until some effective and economic alternatives become available. A Senate version
of H.R. 2230 is expected to be introduced shortly.