A grassroots win for the good guys

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It’s a case study in grassroots power.

A half-cocked rule aimed at restricting young people’s activity on the farm was shot down last week when the Labor Department (DOL) withdrew the proposal.

It’s nothing new to hear of an agency changing their mind, but this time the DOL had help.

The proposal to ban youth from working on farms was withdrawn after thousands of comments–many from Texas farming families–expressed concern about the effects the rule would have on day-to-day farm activities.

It’s another perfect example of what can happen when farmers and ranchers stand together. The message sent to Washington was clear. It was unified and it resulted in change.

This victory belongs to the nearly 200 Texas farmers and ranchers who made trips to Washington in the months leading up to the announcement to tell their Congressmen and Senators how the rule would impact life on the farm. In fact, just one week before the announcement came, a large group of Texas Farm Bureau members met with elected officials and discussed challenges facing Texas agriculture.

It belongs to the thousands of rural families who called and sent emails to representatives. It belongs to Chris Chinn, a mother and Missouri hog farmer, and others like her, who offered compelling testimony in front of Congress to defend her family’s way of life.

Farmers and ranchers are committed to safety and hold themselves responsible for the well-being of all employees and workers, especially teenagers. Working in agriculture gives young people the chance to learn the value of hard work. It also assures the next generation of farmers and ranchers to grow food and fiber for America.

It’s hard for today’s farmers to imagine growing up on a farm and not driving a tractor. In fact, where would we be today if farmers hadn’t been allowed to work alongside older generations?

At a young age, farmers were driving farm equipment, repairing fence, working with animals, using power tools and learning to weld. Everyday jobs like these would have been outlawed if the Labor Department had carried through with their plans.

Thankfully, for American family farms, cooler heads have prevailed–for now. Yet, the mindset that led DOL officials to this point is still there. And we will see more attempts to disrupt family farms.

This win serves as a pattern for other challenges that lie ahead. There are still many issues facing Texas agriculture. And a grassroots voice is one of the best tools farmers and ranchers have.

Hats off to farmers and ranchers everywhere for a job well done. Keep up the good work.

Source: Texas Farm Bureau



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