Gov. Branstad and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey have co-authored a letter to United States Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis expressing their concern over new federal regulations limiting the work and involvement of youth on family farms. The regulations discourage farmers from engaging young people in agriculture and preventing future farmers from acquiring the critical skills and experience needed for a successful career in agriculture.
"These new, overreaching regulations will prevent young people from learning through supervised hands-on experience and obtaining life-long values," said Branstad. "The federal government should not construct further employment barriers at a time when there are fewer job opportunities available for young people."
Agriculture is currently among the bright spots in the U.S. economy. Iowa's economy is composed of a unique mix of industries, but agriculture remains a core industry within Iowa. Gov. Branstad and Sec. Northey believe farm families should not be saddled with burdensome federal regulations.
"We need more young farmers in Iowa to carry on our agricultural traditions," said Northey. "We are concerned that the rules will have the unintended consequences of discouraging farmers from engaging young people in agriculture and preventing future farmers from acquiring the critical skills and experience needed for a successful career in agriculture."
To give Iowa farmers, who just completed the fall harvest, a fair chance to comment on the regulations, Gov. Branstad and Sec. Northey have respectfully requested an additional 45 day extension for comments, until January 15, 2012.
For more information, please visit www.governor.iowa.gov.