Ever since the Department of Labor announced it was considering a ban on farm work by sons and daughters of farmers, the wrath of farmers has really been fired at the Obama administration and the regulatory departments of the administration. This has been the prime example of turning farmers against the administration and its over regulation of agricultural business.
Thursday the House of Representatives Small Business Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee held a hearing with the topic of proposed child labor regulations on small-business producers being a hot topic of the hearing.
The National Corn Growers Association noted that this hearing came a “day after the Department of Labor announced it would re-propose the ‘parental exemption’ portion of the regulation, instead of proceeding with a tough new stance on farm child labor.
"We are pleased to see the administration listened to the thousands of comments received from members of Congress and farmers on this issue," said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. "NCGA is an advocate for farm safety and supports organizations such as FFA and 4-H that place a strong emphasis on educating youth on this subject. However, the decision on what are safe responsibilities for children on the farm should be made by parents, not the federal government."
Many people spoke, but most of the testimony related to it being a mistake to have proposed banning children under 16 from helping out on their family’s farm. Testimony came from the Department of Labor and USDA officials. The parental exemption announcement from the Department of Labor, discussed during the hearing, “will allow children of any age to work on a farm as long as it is owned by a parent or someone acting as a parent. The regulation last fall required any farm worker to be at least 16,” explained the NCGA’s Doggett.
Witnesses representing the FFA and family farmers explained experiences of growing up on a farm and children helping their parents, which enriched the life and commitment of youngsters to farm as adults.
Comments to the Department of Labor on this issue are scheduled/expected to be taken this summer from the general public and organizations.