The Ag Minute: Proposed Rule Interferes with Training Next Generation of Farmers

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Scott Tipton discusses the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) move to reconsider a portion of a proposed labor rule that relates to children working on family farms.  The decision to reconsider the rule is a positive development, but there are still concerns within the agricultural community.  Farming families must be allowed to continue the long tradition of teaching their children the skills required to grow into the next generation of farmers. 

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"In the agriculture community, it is often said that farming is a profession learned by doing. 

"School-based instruction is important, but there is no substitute for actual on-the-farm experience.

"Given the nature of agricultural education, I was pleased that the Department of Labor announced it was going to revisit a parental exemption regulation as it relates to young people working on family farms.  This is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

"Other provisions of this proposed rule will still make it difficult, if not impossible, for young people to access comprehensive on-farm education and employment opportunities.

"For example, the rule would still ban youth younger than 16 from doing certain activities on the farm such as using power-driven equipment.

"We all agree that hazards are present in agriculture, and ensuring the safety of our youth is an important shared goal.  However, through proper safety training and supervision, those hazards can be minimized or eliminated without interfering with the education of the next generation of farmers and ranchers."

The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.