Farmers voice concerns on child labor rules

Buckeye Farm News

From American Farm Bureau Federation

While farmers recently welcomed news that the U.S. Department of Labor will reconsider rules regarding youth working on farms, concerns about the proposal remain.

In response to requests from farmers and members of Congress, the labor department had said it would re-propose the “parental exemption” portion of its rule, which prohibits youth from doing various farm activities on farms on which they don’t reside.

Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmer Chris Chinn told the House Small Business’ Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade that proposed Labor Department regulations on child labor would have negative impacts on rural America.

Responding to the labor department announcement, she said that while the move was appreciated, “it is clear to all of us in the agricultural community that merely ‘tweaking’ the rule will not fix something that we believe is fundamentally flawed.”

For example, Chinn explained that even traditional, routine farm chores, such as driving tractors, milking cows, cutting weeds and building or repairing fence would likely be considered illegal unless the farm on which the youth worked was wholly owned by his or her parents.

Further, said Chinn, who grew up doing many traditional farm chores on her grandparents’ farm, “For DOL to suggest – as it does in its proposed regulations – that my grandparents were violating the law almost takes my breath away.”


Ohio Farm Bureau is asking Ohio farmers to submit their comments on how proposed Department of Labor rules would affect their families and farms. Comments will be shared with legislators during Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual county Farm Bureau Presidents Trip to Washington, D.C. in March. Take the quick online survey today to have your voice heard.


Listen to Ohio Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Policy Adam Sharp discuss the details of the proposed Child Labor rules as it pertains to agriculture.

Watch Chris Chinn’s testimony to Congress about youth working on farms.

Read Ohio Farm Bureau’s stance on proposed labor regulations and their affect on family farms

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