National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor announced that they are reevaluating the parental portion of the proposed child labor safety regulations for agriculture and agriculture-related jobs while moving forward with the hazardous occupation portions of the proposed rules:
“NFU is pleased that the administration listened to the concerns of the agriculture community and determined that these rules would hinder the ability of young workers to learn about agriculture while doing little to make them safer.
“Farming is a lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation, so it is critical that farmers are able to teach their children how to perform the work safely and responsibly. No one is more concerned about the safety of young workers than their parents and other family members. Current rules and regulations allow adequate flexibility for parents to teach their children about agriculture while still ensuring that young workers are safe. Even more important are the values, work ethic, and life lessons which are an enormous contribution to society and to our country.
“NFU is also pleased that the administration is moving forward with the new rules on Agriculture Hazardous Occupations Orders. While it is critical that young workers learn about agriculture, their safety is our top priority. We must ensure that only those who are older and understand the risks are able to perform some of the more dangerous tasks associated with agriculture, such as working inside a grain storage facility.
“We commend the Department of Labor for reconsidering these rules and ensuring that farming and ranching will continue to be an occupation that can be passed down from generation to generation while still ensuring that young workers are kept safe.”