Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement regarding the Obama administration's recent announcement that it will withdraw its proposed Department of Labor (DOL) rule to prevent youth from participating in work activities on family farms:
"I am pleased to hear the Obama administration finally has acknowledged the absurdity of its proposed rule to block young men and women from working on family farms. This rule was another outrageous example of government intrusion in the lives of Americans. Rather than hand down extreme federal regulations from a building in Washington, the administration should have consulted with farmers and ranchers from the beginning to promote commonsense safety measures for young workers."
Last year, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from commonplace agriculture activities including handling most animals more than six months old, vaccinating livestock and hoof trimming. Such restrictions would severely limit participation in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) activities and youth farm safety classes. The language of the administration's proposed rule was so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.
In March of this year, Coats and 35 other senators joined Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) to introduce the Preserving America's Family Farm Act, legislation that would prevent the DOL from enacting its controversial rules on youth working on family farms.