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.|
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?