Preserving America's Family Farms Act

Floor Speech

By:  Dan Boren
Date: July 24, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BOREN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 4157, the Preserving America's Family Farms Act.

I commend my friend from Iowa (Mr. Latham) and his entire staff for all of their hard work on ensuring that the Department of Labor's proposed rule to restrict family farm tradition be reversed.

In December, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed updated regulations on labor practices for minors in agricultural operations, including a rule that would have prevented children under the age of 16 from performing certain duties on farms. Historically, family farms have been exempted from such rules, but the new proposal could have been interpreted broadly to exclude operations that are partly owned by extended family members.

In response to the proposed rule, Congressman Latham and I introduced H.R. 4157. The bill protects the family farm tradition by directing the Secretary of Labor to recognize and understand the unique circumstances of family farm youth and multigenerational family partnerships when drafting regulations now and in the future.

In April, the administration announced that, as a result of loud opposition, they would not finalize the proposed rule. Although I am very pleased that they have decided to abandon the flawed rule and listen to thousands of voices among our rural communities, passage of H.R. 4157 will ensure that, in the future, the Department of Labor does not reissue this proposal or any other rule that would have a similar effect on our family farms.

This legislation encourages the administration to work collaboratively with rural stakeholders, such as farmers and ranchers, to understand issues that affect our communities and our way of life.

Family farms have a long history of providing invaluable work ethic and leadership experience to future farmers. Many of these young folks dedicate their entire lives to providing us with an abundant and safe marketplace, so we owe it to them to protect the foundation on which this American spirit of hard work is built.

Please join me, my friend Congressman Latham, and the over 93 bipartisan cosponsors to pass this legislation.


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