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Pressure From Farmers Leads To Rethinking Of Youth Labor Laws

February 6, 2012 by  

Pressure From Farmers Leads To Rethinking Of Youth Labor Laws

Succumbing to angry backlash from agriculture groups and family farmers across the U.S., the Administration of President Barack Obama announced it would scale back proposed new rules that would have limited the amount of work young Americans can do on farms, The Washington Times reported.

According to the newspaper, communities across the Midwest had attacked the rules, saying that they threatened a traditional way of life for people in the American heartland and could undermine the viability of many family farming operations.

The Times reported that the Labor Department announced it would “repropose” the new regulations, as the agency wanted to allow for more public comment regarding whether children could engage in farm-related jobs.

“It’s a positive step,” Paul Schlegel, director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau, told the newspaper. “We felt that what they were doing was wholly inconsistent with the way the law had been interpreted for decades.”

The Associated Press reported that the American Farm Bureau noted that the laws need to be sensible and within reason, as teenagers shouldn’t be prohibited from performing functions like operating a battery-powered screwdriver.

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  • USA4ever

    Just another clear example of the government overstepping its bounds. It can not manage its finances. I grew up on a farm and it is the best way a kid could be raised. You learn a good work ethic -there is no time off for holidays, birthdays etc. Animals are dependent on you providing feed and water and you learn to interact with the planet.
    One thing sums it all up “Hey federal government keep your damned nose out of our lives!!”

    • Firefly

      “That government governs best which governs least” said one of our most brilliant founding fathers, but today’s godless, anti-constitutional, hell-bent on slavery for all and “we know what’s best for you because we really are god” crowd will only be stopped when the country returns to the God who was the God of the vast majority of our Founding Fathers. Not church, not religion, not power structures, but Guide, Creator, Comforter, Father, and Maker-of-All-That-Is. He knew that 10 commandments were sufficient to point us in the right direction but Congress has given us tens of thousands more, and it’s why they should have term limits or we won’t have a country that much longer (ten years perhaps, twenty, I do not know). Some are talking months!
      Our debt is increasing at a rate that indicates painful inflation cannot be avoided, and shortages and scarcity are inevitable, but all we here from Washington is “Happy Days are here again!” It wasn’t true under Wilson or Johnson and it isn’t true today. If we don’t get back on the right track then we will be a nation, as Reagan said, “Gone under”. The “America must be destroyed (fundamentally changed) crowd” will soon run out of borrowed money and people to tax and then we can all suffer together, because we fell for the devil’s lie that there was something for nothing or that somebody owed us something. May God help us, as the inflation created by just creating money out of the air has always, in every case, 100% of the time, in all of history – NOT ENDED WELL.
      Throughout my life I have seen those with no solutions say taxes must be raised, and although they often said it was to keep the national debt from going up, ALWAYS, in every case, when taxes were raised, the spending and the debt INCREASED! We continue to think that raising taxes will make a difference and it simply a lie that has been repeated so often that most believe it. We did not even need income tax to run the country before the Democrats allowed the Federal Reserve Bank to take over our money but now we just accept that’s the way things are, and in 99 years the government has never audited the FED or in many cases even know all they do.
      Our food is polluted (GMO) our medicines suspect, our morality gone to the dogs, and it would seem that only the mother of all crashes will be required to keep us from ending up on the trash heap of history – if we are so blessed. The alternative is a dictatorial world government where freedom as we know it today will be non-existent, where the individual redundant and meaningless, and taxes so high that no one reading this would even believe it.
      God will never let us down but you can count on Congress doing so again and again. With few exceptions they care only for themselves (look at how 2/3 of them voted last week to not consider term limits). Look how many have gone to Congress just moderately rich and after a few decades became super-rich. Our problems are soon going to be so great that only God (not a god, but “the” God) will be able to bring us back from the brink. Never could I have imagined a society once as enlightened as we have been, so willingly bent on marching off the cliff of responsibility into the abyss of disease, death and destruction. In following the Pied Piper of Lawless Hedonism, Ego, and “My way or the highway” we are writing our own epitaph. We call good evil, and evil good, and those who know that God is just surely tremble when they see what we have allowed to be done in our name. These may not be the “last days” but in a few years – on our present course – you will not be able to tell the difference.
      May God stir up the spirit of freedom and righteousness within us while there is still time.

    • Joe H.

      just goes to show what I and a few others here have said before is true! If we stand together and speak with ONE VOICE we CAN make a difference!! Every one of these politicians worry about being retained!!!

    • JJM

      Allow youth to work, learn, experiment and gain common sense. Thru the innumerable tasks and adventures growing up on a (non-income producing) farm, I am now able to claim to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of my chosen profession. Without such learning I would be depending on too many others to do common sense tasks, repairs, etc.; ie, overly dependent on too many others.

  • dgknj

    Right on brother.

  • Sirian

    Well said USA4ever, shoot, I was hauling hay, plowing fields and the rest when I was 14 and the government hasn’t the slightest idea what they love to direct. It’s proved this time after time.

    • Joe H.

      at 14 to 16, i was out in the fields picking tomatoes, asparagris, peppers, Apples, pears, and all kinds of produce, with and along side many good LEGAL Mexican/American workers. hint: anybody that has picked asparagris knows what laying down on the job is!!

  • Lomax

    Government needs to keep its stupid nose out of people’s business. It is totally incompetent and, to a great extent, needs to simply be gone.

  • s c

    Now THAT’S what I call call “fresh air.” So, teenagers can’t be trusted to use a battery-operated screwdriver. Can elected types come in out of the rain on their own?
    Frankly, I wouldn’t trust anyone in Washington to use a battery-operated screwdriver unless they had a group of bureaucrats ‘assisting’ them. That would drive up costs, and would probably require an environmental impact study and new laws, too.
    While we don’t have as many farmers as we did at one time, they still seem to have common sense. Washington, on the other hand, fears common sense, and can be trusted to do the WRONG thing at the WRONG time and do it for the WRONG reasons. They are a CONSISTENT bunch of overpaid retards, aren’t they?
    In case you’re wondering, maybe we SHOULD have more farmers in Washington. Get bunches of those self-serving lawyers, utopians and various career criminals to work on farms (whether they like it or not, of course). If it’s good enough for China, it’s good enough for America.
    Whatever it takes to force Washington to pull its collective head out of its collective ARSE is what needs to be done, folks.

    • Sirian

      s c,
      HA, they’ve already spent over five million on a study (1992) as to the ergonomic benefit to physical health via usage of left of right handed screwdrivers – sound normal? Yep, sure does.

      • Vigilant

        And how many billions of $$$ have been wasted subsidizing ethanol production from corn? Ethanol, that which gums up the 2- and 4-cycle engines, reduces octane, costs more to produce than it’s worth, and gobbles up livestock feed, making the price of a wide range of products much higher than needs be.

        Yes, you can count on the rule of thumb that whatever government touches turns to merde.

  • Wumingren

    There is also the egregious confiscation of family farms by government due to the death tax. After working a lifetime on a farm, many men are put off the land when they have to sell large parcels to pay the inheritance tax. All that they have worked for all their lives is gone when their father dies. It’s insane. The estate of a farm boy’s dad is as much the property of the farm boy as it is his dad’s.

    I, too, grew up on a farm. I loved it as a kid, because I proved myself worthy of greater responsibilities. It was a major event to get behind the wheel of a tractor, leaving behind the garden plot and hoe, and face the challenges of the weather and open fields. I wanted to be trusted. I wanted to become a man. I had to demonstrate a certain maturity and awareness of my environment and safety before being allowed to do certain chores and operate certain equipment.

    Our friends were country folks, but they did not have farm duties. There were never any demands put on them, and they never really came of age. I sometimes envied their carefree home life, but in the end, I realize that my Mom and Dad raised us to be good, strong men. I lost touch with my childhood friends after I went in the Air Force, but I did hear from home about the troubles some of them encountered. Serious stuff. They had the bodies of men, but the mental maturity of children. They’re probably still childish in their 60s.

    That’s a big part of what’s wrong with America today: We have no coming of age events. Too many guys are immature, selfish, untrustworthy. And too many of these guys end up in politics.

    • Brian

      Coming of age shouldn’t be an event. It shoud be a process started at birth.

      • Sirian

        You obviously haven’t the slightest idea what Wumingren meant. Hummm, how much time have you spent in your entire life farming? Never mind, I’m pretty sure I already know the answer.

        • Vigilant

          Sirian, you’re right. Brian doesn’t have a clue.

          People like Brian (and there are too damn many of them), the pampered and the irresponsible, NEVER fully mature. They have no understanding that physical age and mental age are two different things, and that you can have 20 years of experience or one year’s experience twenty times.

          Big Gubment loves the Brian type, they are putty in the hands of the panderers and will continue to feed at the government teat until it goes dry. We who have had (and learned from) the hard knocks experience of life will remain the heart and soul of the best ideals promulgated by the Founders.

          • 45caliber


            I agree. I’ve seen many 50 year old kids and I’ve seen some 10 year old adults. Maturity has nothing to do with physical stature or growth. Too many “Adults” are still basically kids, particularly in this day and age. Anyone who wants someone else to take responsibility for any part of their lives is lacking in maturity.

          • Sirian

            45caliber & Vigilant,
            Repetition, repetition, we’re dealing with many that fit into that category – right here – on a daily basis. Unfortunately, several are beyond reach. Isn’t it funny that people that have grown up on a farm have an enormous wealth of common sense in comparison to those that have not? No wonder our government is so screwed up.

  • 2WarAbnVet

    When I grew up in the rural South (admittedly many years ago), the school year was established with the planting and harvest seasons in mind. It was understood that the farm children would be needed at home during these times. Now, I suppose the government thinks farmers should use illegal aliens.

    • duaner

      Well said. That is the long and the short of the whole illegal immigration problem. Growing up in a small town that was dependent on agriculture (apples, cherries, etc.) The kids were let out of school to help with the apple harvest in the fall.This practice was discontinued when the illegals came up and did the work for a lot less money and time. I witnessed whole families from dad and mom to kids as young as 6 years old working the orchards. This spilled over into other industries very fast. Thus the illegal immigrant problem.

  • 45caliber

    I think the major push behind this legislation is not protection of the kids. It is meant to force the farmers to not allow their kids to help and instead hire more illegals to do the work their kids do now.

    Farms have always traditionally been run by families. There are farm corporations that hire people, but most are family run. Let them remain that way.

    • Joe H.

      how else they gonna get all those new “voters”?????

  • http://BenCrystal Gottaplenty

    I would be very surprised if you could find one kid that was raised on the farm, that wasn’t a retard , in the occupy wall street movement. They started out smelling up all that fresh air, maybe a little tractor exaust ,and clean living,no rats in their beds etc. and how to pick up after themsrlves. Being productive citizens. So why wouldn’t the govt. want to get involved . They are not retards till they fall for some govt. programs.

  • ranger hall

    Well as long as its a FAMILY RUN farm or ranch, The govt needs to stay out of it.

    IF its a CORP RUN farm or Ranch that pays wages there needs to be protection.

    As i understand most of your Family run farms or Ranches are being bought up by CORPORATIONS. Also your processing plants are also being bought up by these same CORPORATIONS. A lot of these FOOD producing Farms and Ranches are being bought up by people from other Countries.

  • ranger hall

    I am Proud to say while in the Military, The most Honest, Most Proud,And had the most Honor,Most respect, And was the most american. And most were less Educated. These Boys were some of the BEST. And most came from Farm and Ranch backgrounds. Any Medals these boys earned. THEY EARNED THEM.

  • farm girl

    I would hate to think of what might have happened to me if I had not learned to take care of myself as a young girl doing farm work. Farm kids are the most self sufficient, self reliant, bravest, hardest working, innovative people in the world!

  • Charles

    The problem with children working on family farms is that they never learn how to sit around playing video games, getting fat and lazy. They never learn the value of not being able to solve problems on their own. They never learn that they are better off being dependent on an all-powerful government.


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