Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Overreaching Youth Farm Labor Rule Overruled!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Morning, everyone! 

There's nothing better than waking up to good news and that's certainly what we have today.  Based on pressure from lawmakers and, well, just about everybody, the Department of Labor has decided not to pursue their proposed rule that would prohibit young people under the age of 18 from working on family farms and participating in agriculture programs including Future Farmers of America and 4-H.  You can read the proposal here if you want to see what they were planning on doing.

Folks, when I heard about this a couple of days ago, I went into a fit that probably looked something akin to somebody that just had a wasp's nest dropped on their head during an earthquake.  It got even worse when I started to read what these kids would no longer be able to do:

  • Operating a tractor larger than 20 horsepower, or connecting/disconnecting implements.
  • Operating or assisting with machines, including a corn picker, combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor, wagon or trailer unloading mechanism (powered or self-unloading), powered posthole digger, post driver, non-walking rotary tiller, trencher or earth-moving equipment, fork lift, and a power-driven circular, band, or chain saw.
  • Working in a livestock yard, pen, or stall occupied by a bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes, and sow or cow with newborn offspring.  Employment at stockyards, livestock exchanges or auctions are out also.  No more 4-H!
  • Working with timber or tobacco.  (Wow...I helped build a log cabin when I was 7!)
  • Working from a ladder or scaffold above 20 feet, including tasks that require painting, tree-pruning, or fruit harvest.
  • Riding on a tractor or transporting passengers in a bus, truck, or automobile.
  • Handling or applying farm chemicals classified I or II by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

Dust bowl kids, circa 1936, by photographer Dorothea Lange.

Farming is not just a job - it's a way of life.  Alot of what I learned, I learned by walking in my grandfather's footsteps and those of his friends who were true farmers who made their living by working the land.  They didn't need a nanny government to tell them that they needed to watch out for my safety.  Many small family farms depend on the extra hands that are provided by their kids that help out with chores, and it's a valuable learning experience in responsibility and hard work for those kids who at one point will probably inherit the farm from their parents.  In introducing this rule, the DOL is ignoring hundreds of years of tradition and way overstepping.  Not that I'm surprised, as I think the Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that they would like push small farms out of existence in favor of big agribusiness.  For example, look at how the FDA is going after anyone selling raw milk.

Well, the good news is that they've stated that they will not pursue this for the "remainder of the administration" and will instead work with the American Farm Burea Federation, National Farmers Union, FFA and 4-H to promote safety among young workers in ag.  I wonder, however, if that means THIS administration but, if he's re-elected and free to do whatever he likes, will they pick up the mantra again?  They've already increased staff by 30 to 40% in order to monitor family farms.

Good for us and folks like Kansas Senator Jerry Moran for putting a stop to nonsense like this.  We need to remember that we do have the power and we CAN stop an overreaching government.

Well, that's my 2 cents on the subject.  What do you think about this proposed rule?


  1. So glad it was shot down....can't believe it even got started!!!!

    1. Me neither. Let's hope they keep their word and are truly done with this hairbrained idea.

  2. I like your 2 cents! And I love the word picture of what your fit looked like. :) Thank the Lord it didn't pass!

  3. Haha! Glad you liked that, and thanks for stopping by!

  4. The modern regulatory state is out of control.


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