Friday, April 27, 2012

Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores

Update, April 26, 7:55 p.m.: Citing public outrage, the Department of Labor has withdrawn the controversial rule making proposal described in this article.

A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, most children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.

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