The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn its proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations. In a statement, the DOL said it and USDA will work with "rural stakeholders – as the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), 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."
"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. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations," said DOL.
The DOL said the decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. "To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration," it added.
Reacting to the news, AFBF president Bob Stallman said, "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. This announcement shows the strength of American agriculture and grassroots action. Farm Bureau will continue working to ensure that the parental exemptions that remain important to agriculture will be protected, and we will continue our work to help educate families about the importance of farm safety. We also look forward to working with the Departments of Agriculture and Labor and rural stakeholders to develop a program to promote safer agricultural working practices."
Juli says: Good news! This shows that speaking out for agriculture and our youth works.