Rep. Duffy Statement on House Vote to Protect Family Farms

Press Release

By:  Sean Duffy
Date: July 26, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Sean Duffy (WI-07) joined in supporting legislation that would prevent the Department of Labor from interfering in the operations of youth working on family farms.

"Family farms are a way of life in Wisconsin, in my District, and throughout many parts of the country. There is a work ethic installed in children at a young age who work on their family's farms that is nearly impossible to replicate later in life. When the proposed rule preventing this American tradition was first considered earlier this spring, I was among several Members of Congress to speak vehemently against it and that resulted in a reversal by the Department of Labor. This action sets an important marker from this House that additional government interference in our traditional family farms is unacceptable. We must protect Wisconsin-farming traditions for future generations."

This bill, H.R. 4157, would prohibit the Department of Labor from finalizing or implementing the proposed rule, or any substantially similar rule in the future, regarding youth working on family farms, and find that:

(1) family farms often depend on the contributions of youth for their successful operation;

(2) regulations proposed to be adopted by the Department of Labor will adversely impact the longstanding tradition of youth working on farms to gain valuable skills and lessons on hard work, character, and leadership;

(3) the proposed regulations would be detrimental to the opportunity for youth to gain experiential learning and hands-on skills for enrollment in vocational agricultural training;

(4) the proposed regulations would obstruct the opportunity for youth to find rewarding employment and earn money for a college education or other meaningful purposes;

(5) the proposed regulations will limit opportunities to recruit young farmers to agriculture at a time when the average age of farmers continues to rise; and

(6) working on a farm has become a way of life for thousands of youth across the rural United States.