Department of Labor withdraws farm youth labor proposal

The U.S. Department of Labor has withdrawn a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations. The department’s statement reads:

“The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

“As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

“The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.

“Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”

According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, this is truly a victory for grassroots activism.  The cooperative efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau members and the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators played a significant role in convincing the Department of Labor that its proposed rules were ill-conceived and unnecessary. 

Our organizations sent hundreds of letters and made dozens of personal contacts in Washington, supporting efforts by American Farm Bureau, the National FFA Organization and other farm groups. Our members told their personal stories about the importance of providing young people with constructive experiences that teach responsibility, the value of hard work and the encouragement to continue the family farm tradition.

We also want to thank Ohio Congressman Bob Latta and Ohio Senator Rob Portman who were especially helpful in pressing this issue, along with other members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation who supported our efforts.


Ohio Farm Bureau’s statement regarding the rule withdrawl

American Farm Bureau’s statement regarding the rule withdrawl

Previous Ohio Farm Bureau article about the proposed rule

U.S. Department of Labor’s statement

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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