For many, farming is a family tradition, involving two, three or more generations as well as extended family. But proposed Department of Labor requirements for farm employers and restrictions on what youth can do on the farm would put that tradition at risk. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Department of Labor’s proposed rules will:
• Severely narrow a decades old exemption that allows your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and neighbors to work on their family farm. The Department of Labor is trying to narrow the application of the parental exemption by preventing any family-owned corporation, LLC, or partnership from qualifying for the exemption. Unfortunately, this limitation ignores how modern agriculture is structured. Oftentimes, to keep the farm in the family, families will structure the farm in such a way so nieces, nephews, and siblings own a substantial share of the farm.
• Eliminate the opportunity for our youth to learn essential skills through 4-H, FFA, and cooperative extension training and certification programs.
• Expand the list of on-farm jobs that the government thinks are too hazardous for minors. This newly proposed rule would ban many minors from operating any type of on-farm power equipment (including power tools and lawn mowers), working with certain types of livestock and participating in many other on-farm jobs.
The lessons learned on the family farm instill respect for the land and animals, persistence, discipline, hard-work, and farm safety. Ohio Farm Bureau is collecting comments from Ohio farmers through an on-line survey about how this proposed rule would impact their families and farming operations. OFBF will be sharing these comments with members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation during the annual county President’s Trip to Washington DC in early March. The comments will also be shared through a new website, Keep Families Farming, that will collect comments from all across America and will be used to show the Department of Labor and the White House the importance of the family farm and the way this rule would fundamentally change the way of life in rural America. Submit your comments here.