Dairy producers need to take extra precautions when hiring youths from outside the immediate family.

Recent changes to federal law state that youth under the age of 14 can no longer be employed on a farm. Youth that are 16 and 17 years old are now required to have training before operating machinery or handling pesticides, and youth under 15 cannot work in declared hazardous jobs, such as handling pesticides with warning labels. New legal revisions also restrict work on the farm during school hours. Any employer who is caught violating these laws will be fined according to the severity of the incident.

The revisions still allow youth under the age of 14 to work on a farm owned or operated by their parents or legal guardians. Herb Willcutt, associate professor of agriculture at Mississippi State University, says the revisions are to the Fair Labor Standards Act and take effect immediately.

For more information, visit the Web site: protectingkids.gov