The US Department of Labor has decided to stop pursuing regulations that would have impacted youth labor in agriculture. The proposed regulations would have kept children younger than 16 from working with large animals and operating most large machinery. Exceptions were made for children of people who owned those farms. The Labor Department said the legislation was an effort to protect children. Iowa legislators came out strongly against the proposal, including Senator Chuck Grassley, Representative Leonard Boswell, Democratic Congressional Candidate Kristi Vilsack, and many more. They called the proposals overreach, saying that such legislation could have a tremendous negative impact on family agriculture and that the language could leave interpretation up in the air when another administration came into Washington. In the statement announcing they were dropping the legislation, the Department of Labor said they would not pursue such regulations again through the duration of the Obama Administration.
The Department of Labor is withdrawing its proposed regulations regarding children working on farms. Justin Huebner at Two Rivers Cooperative in Pella says there are a lot of family farms in our area that depend on their children for farm work. He does say that children working on family farms is a decreasing trend, with many families pushing their kids to focus on school and sports. He supports the ability for children to work on their family’s farm, saying it instills values and a hard work ethic. Senator Grassley says the proposed regulation defied common sense, and show a lack of understanding of the way family farms work.