The Pryor Times

State News

May 1, 2012

Farm labor rule reversed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday, U.S. Rep. Dan Boren commended the Obama Administration’s decision to reverse its proposed Department of Labor rule that would have limited the contributions of youth to family farming.

In December, the U.S. Department of labor proposed updated regulations on labor practices for minors in agricultural operations, including a rule that would prevent children under 16 from performing certain duties on farms.  Historically, family farms have been exempted from such rules, but the new proposal could have been interpreted broadly to exclude operations that are partly owned by extended family members. 

In response to this proposal, Boren introduced a bill with Rep. Tom Latham from Iowa that would protect the family farm tradition by directing the Secretary of Labor to recognize the unique circumstances of family farm youth and multi-generational family partnerships in agricultural operations when drafting regulations.

Last week, the administration announced that, as a result of loud opposition, it would not move forward with the proposed rule.

“I am pleased to hear the Administration has decided to abandon this flawed rule and listen to thousands of voices among our rural communities,” said Boren. “While the rule was being considered, I co-authored bipartisan legislation, the Preserving America's Family Farms Act, to block it from going forward.

“In the future, I strongly urge the Department of Labor to work collaboratively with rural stake holders, such as farmers and ranchers, on issues that affect their communities,” Boren said.

Rather than change the regulations surrounding family farms, the Obama Adminis-

tration will work with farming groups in an educational role to promote safety and prevent accidents.

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