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Agricultural News


Obama Department of Labor Gives Up Drive to Regulate Youth Workers in Agriculture

Thu, 26 Apr 2012 21:04:01 CDT

Obama Department of Labor Gives Up Drive to Regulate Youth Workers in Agriculture The white flag of surrender has been held up by the Obama Administration, after a huge backlash swept across rural America to the Department of Labor's decision to crack down on youth 16 or younger that wanted to work for anyone on a farm that was not owned by their parents. Even after the DOL modified their proposal to not include relatives in their rulemaking efforts, the criticism continued with storm force against the foolish plans of those who would restrict the ability of young people to gain a work ethic that could propel them into positions of greater responsibility as they reached their adult years.


Finally, the Department of Labor made the decision to cut their loses and hope to minimize the damage for President Obama's reelection campaign this fall. The following statement was released late Thursday afternoon by the Department and also distributed by the White House:


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The U.S. Department of Labor today issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:



"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.



"As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.



"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.



"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, 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 response by agricultural groups has been almost immediate- and it has been a trending topic on Twitter and thousands of Facebook messages are bouncing from home page to home page. On the Radio Oklahoma Ag Nework Facebook page, Oklahoma State 4-H leader Charles Cox posted his thankfulness for the decision- saying "This is a huge victory for American production agriculture ... and for youth involved in agriculture... and we extend our thanks to all who made the choice to get involved in preventing this proposed rulemaking from being implemented."


American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman offered the following statement this evening as well-


"The Labor Department's notification today that it is withdrawing proposed rules that would have prevented many young people from working in agriculture is the right decision for our nation's family-based agriculture system. Farm Bureau appreciates the administration's decision and efforts by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to listen to farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans. We also know that this would not have happened without the efforts of Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and others in Congress, and we thank them for standing up for agriculture and the rural way of life.



"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."



   

 

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