Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle took action to fight proposed regulations that will be harmful to thousands of farmers in New York State by expressing her concern in a letter addressed to Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor.
Buerkle's concern regard the proposed restrictions on labor for non-proprietor-owned family farms. As written, several of the hazardous occupation orders will restrict anyone under the age of 16 not only from working on family farms, but also from participating in important agricultural youth programs such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
In the letter, signed by the Upstate New York Congressional Delegation, Buerkle warns the Department of Labor of the unintended consequences the regulations will have on farms in New York State and the entire state economy.
"These proposed regulations will limit access and opportunities of family members under the age of 16 to gain agriculture experience and training," said Buerkle.
"Family farms are a proud tradition in New York State and are essential in training a new generation to carry on the important work of farming. I am pleased to lead my colleagues in bringing this matter to Secretary Solis' attention and will continue to fight regulations that have a negative impact on one of the leading industries in New York State."
$4.7 billion was returned to the farm economy in 2010 as a result of agricultural production. The state is home to 36,300 farms, which produce a variety of products.