U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today applauded the U.S. Department of Labor for their withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations and on family farms.
"The proposed labor rule would only have created an unnecessary burden on our family farmers," said Rep. Kind. "I'm pleased that the Department of Labor has withdrawn the rule and instead made their focus on education and the promotion of safe farm practices, as I suggested in the letters I sent to them. Our family famers have a unique way of life. We've got to work with them to promote best practices and safe working environments."
Following the initial proposal of the rule and having heard concerns from many family farmers in western Wisconsin, Rep. Kind emerged as a leader on this issue, personally discussing the issue with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and sending three separate letters to the U.S. Department of Labor, requesting they revise the language related to the "parental exemption" and also modify other proposed rules. These included provisions that would limit the ability of children to move, clean, or repair a tractor, prohibit children from riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper, prohibit youth 16 and under from operating milking equipment, and prohibit youth from working with or around animals.
"I will continue to fight for our family farmers and push back against proposals that threaten our way of life in western Wisconsin."