Youth farm labor rule comment period extended

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The Department of Labor has extended the comment period on a proposed rule limiting the work responsibilities of youth in agricultural settings to Dec. 1.

The comment period was originally set to end on Nov. 1 before the DOL announced its elongated timeframe to Congress last Thursday. The proposed rules were released on Sept. 2, farmers argued they did not have enough time to respond as the original comment period fell in line with the fall harvest season.

The DOL has proposed changes to regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act which would cut back the type of work youth could do on a farm. The proposed changes do not apply to children working on a farm owned or operated by their parents.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and 30 of their Senate colleagues sent a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Soils asking to extend the comment period.

"Not only would this regulation, as currently drafted, have far-reaching effects on youth agricultural education programs, farms, ranches and other agricultural businesses, it could greatly impact the structure of family farms and rural communities in the states we represent," the senators wrote in a letter to Solis.

Farmers are encouraged to voice their opinion in the matter.

Submit online comments here.

Learn more about the proposed rule here.

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