Agricultural organizations are pleased that the U.S. Labor Department has officially withdrawn proposed rules that would have prevented many young people from working on farms and ranches.
“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,” said the department in a press release. “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.”
“This victory for farm families is due to the thousands of farmers and ranchers who sent comments to the Labor Department opposing the rules and continued to voice their concerns with members of Congress,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “This announcement shows the strength of American agriculture and grassroots action.”
The Labor Department said it received “thousands of comments” against the proposal rule regarding youth in agriculture. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander commended the administration’s action and said farmers and ranchers made their voices heard. “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.”
The Labor Department made it clear that the “regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.”