"Last week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) withdrew its proposed regulation that would have prohibited young people under age 16 from working on farms. I am relieved that common sense prevailed. The proposed rule would have transformed the way of life for thousands of family farms and ranches across the country, including many in Idaho.
"The overreaching and misguided rule would also have threatened the ability of America's youth to contribute to their family's farm and restricted families from passing on the generational knowledge and the hands-on learning that is so critical to the survival of the agricultural industry.
"I grew up moving pipe and breaking ground for new crops. It was a time in my life that I consider very significant, and working on farms taught me the value of hard work and persistence. I want to make sure today's youth have the same opportunities that I had growing up, part of which is being able to work, save money, and go to college. Jobs in agriculture provide these opportunities and need to be preserved.
"Earlier this year I signed a letter to Secretary Solis expressing my disapproval of the proposed rule. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 4157, the Preserving America's Family Farms Act, that would have blocked the DOL from finalizing the proposed regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act that relate to on-farm youth labor. Members of the Idaho agricultural community that contacted my office and the Department of Labor to voice their strong opposition to this rule should be commended for their efforts to ensure that Idaho's way of life is preserved."