August 11, 2022
Fargo, US 66 F

Dept. of Labor withdraws proposed rule dealing with children working on farm

The Department of Labor issued a statement yesterday about the withdrawal of their proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:

“The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations.  The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

“As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

“The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.  To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.

“Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”

Representative Kristi Noem issued the following statement after the announcement:

“This is great news for every family farm in South Dakota and across the country. Like many South Dakotans, I started working on my family’s ranch as soon as I was able; hauling hay, moving cattle and working with farm equipment. These chores not only taught me practical skills, but instilled in me a work ethic that has driven me my entire life. I want to thank every farmer, rancher and young person who joined many of us in Congress to speak out against this proposal, which would have fundamentally changed the way folks have been farming and ranching for generations. I continue to agree that safety on farms and ranches is imperative, but telling kids they can’t do 4-H or farm-related chores is not the answer.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander commended the administration’s action and said farmers and ranchers made their voices heard on the proposed rule, which could have restricted, and in some instances totally prevented, America’s youth from working on farms and ranches.

“This is a victory for farm and ranch families throughout the country. This ridiculous rule would have prevented the next generation of farmers and ranchers from acquiring skills and passion for this very noble profession. It also would have restricted urban kids from working on farms and acquiring a solid worth ethic and enthusiasm for this very diverse industry,” said Alexander. “We absolutely have to have a sensible regulatory environment in Washington, D.C. We should not have to worry about negligent rules being promulgated by out-of-touch regulatory agencies. We encourage the administration to venture off the city sidewalks and learn more about where their food comes from.”

Sources: White House Office of Communications, Office of Representative Kristi Noem, NCBA

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