2012-01-18 / Farm & Ranch

Proposed youth labor rule viewed as excessive

(Jourdanton) – Proposed changes to child labor requirements could significantly impact family farm labor, said President Lloyd House, Atascosa County Farm Bureau president.

The proposed change to child labor laws would restrict youth from working on agricultural operations other than their parents’ farm or ranch, limiting their ability to work on other family members’ operations or on FFA and 4-H projects.

“The proposed rules are over-reaching regulatory efforts by the Department of Labor, Lloyd House said. “Should the proposal become law, it would have a devastating effect on family farms and ranches across our state and nation.”

While the Department of Labor has the authority to prohibit youth employment in jobs that are “particularly hazardous,” the department’s proposal would prohibit youth from working in any job with “power-driven equipment.” Read literally, the proposal would prohibit youth under 16 from working in any job that had even simple power tools like a battery-operated screw driver.

“Farmers and ranchers, like anyone else, care about the safe practices,” President House said. “Placing our children and neighbors children in a job that is risky or dangerous is not how we do business.”

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