U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, released the following remarks after the House passed H.R. 4157, the Preserving America's Family Farms Act. In April, the Department of Labor (DOL) verbally withdrew a proposed rule that would severely limit the tasks that adolescents and children could perform on farms and ranches across the country. After proposing the rule last year, DOL received overwhelming opposition to the rule from farmers and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including Alexander. This legislation would prohibit the Secretary of Labor from finalizing or enforcing the rule, which would increase federal regulations of family farms at the risk of banning farm youth from working on their family-owned farms.
"While the safety of our young farm workers is essential to all of us, it was evident that this rule was proposed by people entirely uninformed of how agriculture really works. The agriculture industry is not just about jobs, crops and livestock; it is actually about culture, a way of life that has been practiced and passed on from generation to generation. Rather than learning productive and useful skills for the benefit of society, DOL's proposed rule would have sidelined our next generation of farmers and ranchers."