America's family farms would be protected from intrusive new federal regulations barring youth from working on their own farm under legislation now co-sponsored by Congressman John Carter (R-TX31). Carter has joined with Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) in pushing for passage of H.R. 4157, Preserving America's Family Farms Act. The bill would bar the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing any regulation that would prohibit youth from working on farms owned by their families by restricting finalization of new rules the department proposed in September 2011.
"American farm families since our founding have worked together to produce their living and our nation's food," says Carter. "It is a cultural and economic tradition by which mankind has survived throughout world history. But now we have a bunch of pencil-pushers in Washington, D.C. offices who have decided they know better than our Texas farmers and ranchers how to work their land, and whether to allow the kids to do jobs that youth have performed for generations. This madness has to stop."
Family farms have been exempt from child labor rules for family members in the past, but are now threatened by the DOL proposal that would remove that exemption for farms partly owned by extended family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. The DOL proposal would also kill farm education programs that allow students to learn how to safely operate farm equipment, including driving tractors. The proposed elimination of these certification programs has drawn opposition from Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the 4-H Youth Development Organization.