Labor Department targets family farms
Growing up in the South, you’d often hear stories about how kids in rural areas had to get up in the morning and help around the family farm before heading off to school and hitting the books. While those stories aren’t as frequent now that the agriculture industry has declined, this is still somewhat the case in many places in the United States.
But due to child labor laws, the Department of Labor is weighing a ban on kids working on their family farms:
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.
“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.
“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”
In Kansas, Cherokee County Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark was out in the field — literally on a tractor — when TheDC reached him. He said if Solis’s regulations are implemented, farming families’ labor losses from their children will only be part of the problem.
“What would be more of a blow,” he said, “is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm.”
More government intrusion. Private organizations such as the FFA and 4-H club that have, for decades, successfully done safety training and certification are now to be stripped of that ability in favor of a 90 hour course taught by the same government that gave us the TSA. And, of course, with any government training, you have to wonder how much it will cost and how much of it will be worthwhile training and how much indoctrination.
Farm children have, for literal centuries in this country, worked side by side with their fathers and mothers to make a very difficult and labor intensive family businesses succeed. But the nanny state would now prohibit them from doing most of what they’ve traditionally involved themselves in because, well, nanny knows best, doesn’t she?
Of course farm families have a vested interest in insuring their children remain safe and able to work. It is of no advantage at all for a farm family to have their children do things in which there’s a high likelihood of them being killed or maimed. And, again, for centuries, they’ve been able to manage and determine what is or isn’t within the abilities of their children to do safely.
Additionally, over those centuries, private and independent groups like the FFA and 4-H have been developed and supported by farm families to ensure their children are properly trained in the safety, husbandry and farming skills so necessary to make the family farm a success and to make the US the breadbasket of the world.
Now we have government unilaterally intruding in an area that it really has no business. And it is a Democratic administration doing so … one I’m sure that would tell you, out of the other side of their mouth, that they are the party of the family farmer.
Nanny, with the supposed best of intentions, is about to take down another industry with its unwanted meddling.
Exactly right. This is absurd. Many family farms can’t afford to go out and hire workers, so they rely on their kids to pick up the slack. And while this may not be the ideal lifestyle, this is what many kids have to look forward as a way to make a living in rural areas. So these regulations would be, essentially, putting them behind.
It’s just another example of pointless, unneeded regulations from Nanny Staters with apparently nothing better to do.