Montana Senator speaks out against proposed labor rule


Along with other lawmakers, Montana Senator Jon Tester is concerned that proposed Labor Department regulations on youth employment on farms would not only impact Montana farmers and ranchers, but also harm the future of family agriculture and prevent young people from learning the value of hard work.

Tester has demanded that Labor officials reevaluate the proposed rules, which restrict young people on tasks ranging from working with animals in a pen to assisting with vaccinations.

“The skills young people acquire from family agriculture translates into a healthy work ethic that will serve them their entire lives, whether they choose to stay in agriculture or not,” Tester wrote Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  “I strongly believe family agriculture is one of the foundations of America, and unfairly regulating the ability for young people to fully experience and grow from it will be detrimental to our future.”

Tester, who grew-up “picking rocks” on his grandfather’s farm that he now runs, believes that the farm instilled in him a deeper respect for safety than any regulation ever could.

Tester is also concerned that the new restrictions eliminate exemptions for completion of safety courses through 4-H or the local extension service.

Tester, a third-generation farmer from Big Sandy, is not new to the farm labor issue.  In October he announced that – at his request – the Labor Department would extend its public comment period on the proposed regulation.

Tester’s letter to Solis appears below and online HERE.

Source: Office of Senator Tester