is part of the Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

  • American Agriculturist
  • Beef Producer
  • Corn and Soybean Digest
  • Dakota Farmer
  • Delta Farm Press
  • Farm Futures
  • Farm Industry news
  • Indiana Prairie Farmer
  • Kansas Farmer
  • Michigan Farmer
  • Missouri Ruralist
  • Nebraska Farmer
  • Ohio Farmer
  • Prairie Farmer
  • Southeast Farm Press
  • Southwest Farm Press
  • The Farmer
  • Wallaces Farmer
  • Western Farm Press
  • Western Farmer Stockman
  • Wisconsin Agriculturist
Efforts Continue to Stop DOL Farm Labor Regulations

Efforts Continue to Stop DOL Farm Labor Regulations

More people are joining the attempt to stop proposed rules limiting youth being able to work in agriculture.

As the U.S. Department of Labor pushes to restrict the ability of youth to do farm work, those close to the land are beginning to fight back. Historically, family farms have been exempted from such rules, but Representative Tom Latham, R-Iowa, has expressed concerns that a new proposal could be interpreted to exclude operations that are partly owned by extended family members such as grandparents, aunts or uncles.
In response, Latham has authored and introduced bipartisan legislation that expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Labor should recognize the unique circumstances of family farm youth and multi-generational family partnerships in agricultural operations when drafting regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Representative Dan Boren, D-Okla., is co-sponsoring the legislation.
Latham is looking for additional input from farmers and agricultural groups such as FFA and 4-H on the topic and expects to introduce additional legislation after Congress reconvenes next year that will update U.S. code to reflect the realities of modern farming.

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says the proposal to restrict child labor on farms doesn’t pass the common sense test and he’s written the Labor Secretary urging the idea be scuttled.

Grassley has joined others in complaining to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, whose agency wants to reduce the high rate of child injuries and fatalities from farm machinery and animals. But Grassley argues some of labor’s proposed restrictions are "ridiculous."

"Such as a prohibition of a young person working with a six-month-old bull calf," Grassley said. "Yet anyone works with beef cattle knows that a six-month-old bull calf doesn't pose a harm or extraordinary threat to anybody."

Grassley argues if the Labor Department wants to improve farm safety, it can do that through its safety promotion programs, not new regulations. Grassley called work on the farm a "rite of passage" for young men and women growing up, whether its detassling corn, working livestock or baling hay.

Grassley won’t argue with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack who defends the proposed rule as a way to deal with a high rate of farm machinery accidents involving youth, but the Grassley says the rule creates big problems.

"With a lot of farm families, kids help neighbors," Grassley said. "And it's my understanding that if you are a self-employed farmer, filing the ordinary income tax, that the rules don't apply to you, but if you have incorporated your farm they do apply to you, so you've got that silliness."

Grassley says generations of farm youngsters have "cut their teeth" working on mom and dad’s farm, or that of a neighbor and now the Labor Department wants to change that on its own, without any request from Congress.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.