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Skip to comments.Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores
Posted on 04/25/2012 6:26:12 AM PDT by No One Special
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 its 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.
The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the governments approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA , replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal governments 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 theyre not at their parents house, said Blinson.
I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. Its 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 Soliss 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.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average age of the American farmer is now over 50 .
Losing that work-ethic its so hard to pick this up later in life, Clark said. Theres other ways to learn how to farm, but its so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when youre 12, 13, 14 years old.
John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives farm.
Hes now a college Agriculture major.
I started working on my grandparents and uncles farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12, Weber told TheDC. I started spending full summers there when I was 13.
The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. Its harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.
Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. Under these regulations, he explained, I wouldnt be allowed to do that.
In February the Labor Department seemingly backed away from what many had called an unrealistic reach into farmers families, reopening the public comment period on a section of the regulations designed to give parents an exemption for their own children.
But U.S. farmers largest trade group is unimpressed.
American Farm Bureau does not view that as a victory, said Kristi Boswell, a labor specialist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Its a misconception that they have backed off on the parental exemption.
Boswell chafed at the governments rationale for bringing farms strictly into line with child-labor laws.
They have said the number of injuries are higher for children than in non-ag industries, she said. But everyone in agriculture, Boswell insisted, makes sure youth work in tasks that are age-appropriate.
The safety training requirements strike many in agriculture as particularly strange, given an injury rate among young people that is already falling rapidly.
According to a United States Department of Agriculture study , farm accidents among youth fell nearly 40 percent between 2001 and 2009, to 7.2 injuries per 1,000 farms.
Clark said the regulations are vague and meddlesome.
Its so far-reaching, he exclaimed, kids would be prohibited from working on anything power take-off driven, and anything with a work-height over six feet which would include the tractor Im on now.
The way the regulations are currently written, he added, would prohibit children under 16 from using battery powered screwdrivers, since their motors, like those of a tractor, are defined as power take-off driven.
And jobs that could inflict pain on an animal would also be off-limits for kids. But inflicting pain, Clark explained, is left undefined: If it included something like putting a halter on a steer, 4-H and FFA animal shows would be a thing of the past.
In a letter to The Department of Labor in December, Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg complained that the animal provision would also mean young people couldnt see veterinary medicine in practice including a veterinarians own children accompanying him or her to a farm or ranch.
Boswell told TheDC that the new farming regulations could go into effect as early as August. She claimed farmers could soon find The Labor Departments Wage and Hour Division inspectors on their land, citing them for violations.
In the last three years that division has grown 30 to 40 percent, Boswell said. Some Farm Bureau members, she added, have had inspectors on their land checking on conditions for migrant workers, only to be cited for allowing their own children to perform chores that the Labor Department didnt think were age-appropriate.
Its something Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran believes simply shouldnt happen.
During a March 14 hearing, Moran blasted Hilda Solis for getting between rural parents and their children.
The consequences of the things that you put in your regulations lack common sense, Moran said.
And in my view, if the federal government can regulate the kind of relationship between parents and their children on their own familys farm, there is almost nothing off-limits in which we see the federal government intruding in a way of life.
The Department of Labor did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
That’s what drones are for. The dictator-in-chief has all the bases covered.
I have wondered about this. It seems to me that with increased energy and gasoline costs, increased property taxes, increased regulation of natural resource related industries (Logging, mining, fishing) and the further meddling in rural areas that a war on non-urbanism is going on.
If you think about it the people who live in rural areas are less likely to rely on a government agency for their needs and are more likely to rely on themselves and on their abilities -- and therefore making them an enemy of the State. If the regime were to heard us all into government housing pods clustered around government mass transport we would by default be relying on them rather than us.
They are trying to further enslave the public.
It sounds like total black helicopter conspiracy stuff but it makes sense to me.
I would get nothing done around here without the help from my children, and I have a hobby farm. I can’t imagine having a full time farm and not having the kids help. They love it, and have learned great responsibility, how to grow and preserve food, raise animals, etc.. I can see why the government wouldn’t like that, they are going to grow up and not need a government hand out.
The feds will just take their union dues directly out of the farmers' bank accounts to make it convenient for everyone.
SWAT teams will be raiding farms, shackling parents, burning barns/farmhouses, shooting the animals, salting the fields, shipping the kids off to re-education camps where they’ll be forced to do communal hard labor.
Why do people even bother trying to follow these “laws” anymore.
Be like the illegals.. overwhelm them with non compliance.
Just like the illegals.. they cant arrest everyone!
Yes and no. I totally agree this is not about the safety of children. But I disagree that it is about illegals. More likely it is to make the cost of farming so cost prohibitive that family's will be forced to sell to big agribusiness like ADM, ConAgra, and Monsanto.
The idea is to concentrate populations in urban areas instead of folks being spread out in rural ares - those spread out folks aren't as easy to control.
That being said...there is no subsitute for physical labor. It can’t be learned from books, movies or teachers. The sooner a child is introduced to it, the better...even if they’re only pushing a Lil’ Tykes red plastic mower around the yard while Dad is cutting the grass.
I’m very glad you two get it.
I’ve been trying to get people to wake up to the reality that the family is the primary target of the left and to act accordingly.
And, no, cowman, it’s not “black helicopter stuff”.
The left/communists are working to build a one world community under one leader, and this leader will NOT be serving God.
Now, I want you to think about these policies in light of what you now see:
1) CAFE standards (smaller cars)
2) Intentional increase in fuel costs
3) Car seat requirements (larger footprint per child)
Think about it though - the way the left selectively enforces the laws to further their agenda.
They’ll find the resources to enforce this, even if they have to hire tens of thousands of new IRS agents... ooops.
I would like to know why these “inspectors” are allowed on these farms. Are people fined if they don’t let them on their property? This is a serious question, because I would think that the “inspectors” would be trespassing if people don’t want them there. We have a fence and a gate that clearly says “No Trespassing,” and we don’t open the gate for just anyone.
That said, if the “inspectors” do show up, the parents and children could just explain that they are not “working,” they are “playing.” Then the “inspector” would have to prove somehow that the activity is not play, which would be pretty hard if the child insisted that it was and that he was having fun.
Seems to me you’d need a warrant.
Also seems to me any evidence leading to a warrant that was obtained through spy drones or satellites should be thrown out.
This is absurd. Some of the most mature and responsible kids I have ever known throughout my life have been kids raised on farms.
When I was a LOT younger (and less mature) I used to snobbishly look down my city kid nose at rural kids raised on family farms. Then I got to know them.
I have NEVER met a farm kid who was lazy, dumb or immature. I’ve NEVER met one who needed the government to shelter them from the chores they have as part of the family farm. Sure, like city kids, they would rather play video games or watch junk on TV but, the obligations of the farm keep them grounded and give them tools that most city kids lack.
This is the attack that the Obama Administration is launching on farm kids. They are attacking kids who will be tomorrow’s leaders because of their maturity and responsibility. If farm chores were such a big issue, why are 4H clubs thriving??
The government is only trying to help.
its for the children. /s
They are trying to further enslave the public.
You just described Agenda 21.
I’m just headed out the door or I’d find it to post here, but a person has only to look at the communist objectives as presented to Congress a long time ago (1960’s?) to see how they intended to destroy the family.
Abortion, pornography, no-fault divorce, homosexuality, promiscuity, drugs, welfare.... it is all geared toward breaking the family so badly that the government would HAVE to step in and be the provider for these “poor people”. If Christians resisted government taking over the role of family for those people, they would be called uncaring hypocrites.
The leading cause of poverty in the US is divorce. Anything that increases divorce or single-parent homes is good for the communist cause.
Much more could be said but I gotta run. If people figure out the implications of that communist goal to destroy the family, it will explain everything we see by the leftists in America. The family has to be destroyed and the hole that’s left filled by government. That’s the very strategic plan to destroy this country and its freedoms.
1) CAFE standards (smaller cars) 2) Intentional increase in fuel costs 3) Car seat requirements (larger footprint per child)
I have also wondered about the taking of private lands for federal and state "parks" Most of the takings were in the more rural western part of the country where the people living there would be more likely to resist government intrusion. It may have been spun as a preservation movement but the result was to reduce their opposition.
OMG, LOL! I can’t wait to talk to DFL farmers who voted for this nimrod, about this. Hahaha.
They may not, but many certainly voted for this fool, simply because the word “farmer” in DFL. It also has to do with not in any way voting GOP. It takes foolishness like this to maybe, just maybe, get through to these people.