The U.S. Department of Labor withdrew the regulation that would have prevented farm kids from doing their daily chores due to an intense public outcry. Iowa being a major agricultural state with countless family farms who depend on having everyone in the family pitch in would have been negatively impacted by such a regulation. I would have also prevented youth from participating in agriculture educational programs such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis back in November, 2011. Branstad when he was out in Washington, D.C visited with Labor Department officials and Iowa’s Congressional delegation back in February. He was pleased with the Labor Department’s decision to withdraw this regulation:
I applaud this announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw their proposed rules for young people participating in agriculture. The proposed rules were a prime example of federal overreach and it is unfortunate that they were proposed in the first place. That said, I am glad that common sense has prevailed. The parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbors who care the most about the young people starting a career in agriculture are best positioned to determine the capabilities and safety of the kids they love. Agriculture continues to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy and we should continue to oppose regulations that lack common sense.
I look forward to continuing to work with agricultural stakeholders, including the FFA and 4-H, to build upon successful grassroots initiatives that truly help to continually improve agricultural working practices for young people.
Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds also was encouraged by the decision:
I am heartened to see this change in course from the U.S. Department of Labor. The governor and I have heard from numerous Iowans that these proposed rules would have prevented young people from learning career and life skills through active participation in livestock operations and many aspects of crop production. In addition, there were significant concerns that the federal government was seeking to narrow the definition of the parental exemption in a way that would have been totally disjointed from the realities and structures of current family farms. The Governor and I discussed these rules with Iowa FFA students and Secretary Northey earlier this week. We would also like to thank those Members of the Iowa congressional delegation who were actively engaged in this issue, including the efforts of Congressman Tom Latham to preempt these regulations with legislation if the rules had not been withdrawn.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) released the following statement yesterday:
Once again President Obama’s overreaching policies have outraged the American people. I’m happy to see the backlash surrounding this rule has prompted the Department of Labor to withdraw the proposed rule. The Department of Agriculture collaborated with the Department of Labor on this direct assault of American family farms. Family farms are the core of American culture, and for centuries they have played a large role in instilling a strong work ethic in young people. I know because I raised my three sons in rural Iowa and taught them the value of hard work."
I’m pleased to have had the support of many farm families as I’ve worked to oppose this rule in order to ensure that young people will still have the same opportunities. This policy was not only unnecessary, it threatened the very way of life that I and so many others hold dear. When will President Obama realize that his out of touch policies do not reflect the values of the American people? His actions continue to show that he is disconnected with the people in the heartland of this great country.