Common sense has temporarily been restored. It was welcome news for this farm mom when the Department of Labor announced it was withdrawing the proposed rules that would have prevented many young people from working in agriculture.
The department had proposed rules that would have prohibited children younger than 16 years of age from performing a long list of tasks on the farm, including working with animals and operating "power-driven equipment."
As a mother of two active children working on a multigeneration farm, I appreciate the effort to protect the safety of my children. Safety is a daily discussion on our farm. However, creating a list of banned activities-performed by myself and many farmers/ranchers as a kid threatened the future of agriculture. It would have limited my children's learning experience and the family tradition of working alongside family members.
Perhaps now the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture can work together with the agriculture community to improve farm safety by utilizing FFA and 4-H programs to enhance farm safety courses for children.
The Department of Labor's decision to withdraw the proposal is the result of the agriculture community working together, explaining our concerns and sharing our story with the government and the general public. However, this result would not have happened if lawmakers like Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) had not made an effort to preserve the rural way of life. For that, the next generation of agriculturalists says "THANK YOU."
The largest applause goes to every individual who wrote a letter, posted a social media statement, expressed the impact in a blog post or spoke to the media, their legislator and the Department of Labor. Together, we made a difference.
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