Farm and ranch families are more interested than anyone else in assuring the safety of our farms. We have no desire at all to have young teenagers working in jobs that are inappropriate or entail too much risk. But regulations need to be sensible and within reason—not prohibiting teenagers from performing simple everyday farm functions like operating a battery-powered screwdriver.
Members in the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, have called for the rule to be withdrawn, and Farm Bureau agrees. But if the Labor Department proceeds, as seems likely, we will be working actively to assure that any final regulation makes sense, does not infringe on the traditional rights of family farms and does not unnecessarily restrict the ability of young people to work in agriculture. In other words, we need a rule that respects the significance of youth farm work in America and the importance it plays in our system of family-based agriculture.