(Posted Thu. Feb 2nd, 2012)
Feb. 2: The House of Representatives Small Business Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee held a timely hearing today on the effects of proposed child labor regulations on small-business producers. The hearing comes a day after the Department of Labor announced it would re-propose the “parental exemption” portion of the regulation.
“We are pleased to see the Administration listened to the thousands of comments received from Members of Congress and farmers on this issue,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett. “NCGA is an advocate for farm safety and supports organizations such as FFA and 4-H that place a strong emphasis on educating youth on this subject. However, the decision on what are safe responsibilities for children on the farm should be made by parents, not the federal government.”
Members in today’s subcommittee hearing heard testimony from Department of Labor and USDA officials. The announcement from the Department of Labor, also discussed during the hearing, will again allow children of any age to work on a farm as long as it is owned by a parent or someone acting as a parent. The regulation last fall required any farm worker to be at least 16. Witnesses representing the FFA and family farmers explained how these regulations would hinder their operation and their children’s experiences both on and off the farm if they were not changed.
NCGA will submit comments to the Department of Labor on this issue when the comment period is opened this summer.