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Thursday, December 08, 2011

New Federal Child Labor Laws Coming to a Farm Near You (edited) (updated)

Kansas kids working on the farm is a tradition that goes back generations in the Sunflower state. But the role of kids on the farm could be changing. Lawmakers on the federal level want to make kids safer and that means change could be on the way. . .

The Department of Labor is in the process of planning to change child labor laws. Under the proposal, kids under 18 could no longer work with farm animals. . .

Also, the proposed changes would prohibit anyone under the age of 16 operating power equipment like tractors. . .

Source and entire article found here>>> KSN New labor laws

edited; I keep finding tasty little tidbits

For instance, children under 16 would not be allowed to help in any tasks that involve inflicting pain, like branding or vaccinating source

branding and breeding farm animals, and working atop ladders at heights over six feet. (under 16 yrs of age. source

Children would not be allowed in confined spaces with animals -- for example, a child in a stall with a horse, or a cow that has calved . . . Also, they wouldn't be allowed to ride horses in order to trail cattle. . . source

If your family farm is an LLC, the child doesn’t work for the parents solely. That’s a concern because a huge percentage of family farms are now set up as an LLC. Where the ownership or operation of the farm is vested in persons other than the parent, such as a business entity, corporation or partnership (unless wholly owned by the parent(s)), the exemption would not apply source

Officials from the South Dakota Farmers Union say if the regulations go into effect, farmers could be fined up to $11,000 if they are found in violation of the new laws. source


the proposed rules would prohibit the use of any sort of electronic or communication device while operating a tractor, but it's common practice to use two-way radios or cellphones to communicate between tractors, trucks and combines in the field. And many modern tractors come equipped with GPS systems and other electronics that teens might not be able to use. source

The Labor Department can only regulate employer-employee relationships, so Hancock said the proposed rules shouldn't affect 4-H, Future Farmers of America or other educational programs. And, they may not keep children from helping on their grandparents' or uncle's farms if they aren't paid. source

DOL Press Release on this>>>;Here

 end edit
Editorial begins now

um . . . ok so this will not affect those whose parents solely own the farm. But what about 4-H? Many of those kids don't live on a farm, and raise animals on another's or the 4-H's compound. What about the FFA and the college scholarships they give out? (Anyone work with 4-H or FFA that might have a bit of insight?) And that was answered, if you don't pay the child you can have them do whatever you want and the DOL can't say a thing. nice. . .

This will also affect those of us who have children that have taken it upon themselves to go farm to homestead asking for paying work. These kids want to work, to earn money and show responsibility. Yes, there are deaths, average 104 a year. edited because I am now questioning those stats. What are the deaths? Are they actually work related or merely death on farm related? Because there is a difference. They could drown while swimming on property, or slip and fall on a wet kitchen floor. stats are weird like that, pull everything that says death occurred on a farm and there you go.

30 children die in bicycle accidents each year

240 children drown every year

21 die in Go Karts

100 children a year are abducted and murdered, 60 of those are by someone the child knows, and most the time it is a parent. source

So outlaw swimming pools and bathtubs, as well as bicycles (they are already trying to restrict go kart and motorcycle use) and parenting.

Farm kids learn from an early age about safety and responsibility. We re-enforce what could happen if they are careless.  Many accidents, are just that, and tend to be unavoidable unless you do not live on a farm.

17,000 children are treated in ER's for lawn mower injuries.

But what does that really matter. The pediatric society has issued warning and guidelines for that in which most parents don't follow. Yet we on farms, who have our children help with chores, or children that want to raise animals for show, or want to earn extra money because they have work ethics and know that their parents aren't just going to hand them an allowance just because, are going to be made to suffer by people that have probably never stepped foot on a working farm,  and only read flat statistics on paper.

Our children are not sweat shop kids. Sure there are some that mistreat their kids, but that goes for any family, any where, doing anything.

Those under 16 typically engage in the following types of restaurant work:

Cashier positions
Bagging orders
Bussing tables
Washing dishes
Hand-cleaning fruit and vegetables
Some limited cooking duties such as frying

I have burned myself frying, I have cut myself on broken dishes, yet the laws allow youth under 16 to do this dangerous work. And those evil paper cuts from bagging! But it is safer then a chicken plucking out your eye balls, rabbits ripping your throat out, or a goat butting you. Yes there are dangers, like cow kicks, rooster talons,  goose bites (which a goose can break a, child under 4 yrs old, arm). There is potential illness from mice droppings in a chicken coop. You could get injured from a horse bite, kick, or buck. Cows with horns and bulls with testosterone rage can be an issue. Goats and sheep are evil with their butting, and rabbits can scratch. But precautions are taken on most farms.

As long as the parents have been responsible and have taught their children the do's and don't of farm life, it should be ok for a 12 yr old to milk a goat, or feed the cattle to earn a bit of money. 14 yr olds drive to the co-op often here to help out the family. We get farm licenses that the State issues saying it is just fine and dandy with them. Car crash stats are only available for 15-20 yrs old, with the highest rates between 16-17. Possibly because 14 yr old farm kids aren't with their friends in those trucks, nor texting while driving.

Large likes driving the tractor. It is an old 9-N. He drives it much better than I do. He is also working at a friends hay farm, no animals there, but he is working and earning money to buy a new X-box.

And what if you work them for free, like horse back riding? Many people board horses on other people land.Will this affect those as well. Riding a horse, is working a horse. And many feed and groom while there.

As for Large working on another farm, so be it. He is safe. He knows the rules, and I trust the family. And he prefers it to babysitting, or mowing lawns.


Fritz said...

Just another way that the government is trying to control you. They don't want people growing their own food.

I had a job working as a dishwasher in a steakhouse when I was 16. First you deal with those steak knives. Then there are the broken dishes. The very hot water in those industrial dish washers. And have you ever walked on those brown tile floors in most restaurants? The get covered with grease, the water splashes around, and they are slick. I fell several times and just by luck I didn't get hurt.

Phelan said...

This will mainly affect those children that work on none parent owned (non co-oped) farms. Your children can still do all the regular work that they already do on your property.

This will hurt those kids that want to grow up to be farmers. And those that take summer jobs on farms (city, suburban children). And those homesteading kids that get after school jobs on farms.

Stevie said...

I agree that this really limits access to farms for children who are not born on one. And we do have plenty of children who particpate in farm activities at our farm. Even if they don't become farmers themselves why shouldn't they learn how to give vaccines, trim hooves, move large livestock? Thinking about how to work safe is an important skill that they will take with them the rest of their lives. We often see children who don't know how to handle sharp tools, manage heights, or handle animals b/c they've simply never been exposed to it. What a shame that the gov is making it more difficult to teach these skills :(

TransFarmer said...

This kills me. Aside from working on our farm, I used to work on the neighbor's farm catty-cornered from us. I started when I was 6, and I earned $.25 a day. At 8 I made $.50 a day, at 10 a $1, and at 12 $2 a day plus lunch in town. It was all candy money, but I was happy to have it. I was also happy to work my butt off through the week during the summer and on the weekend fish in the pond with the farmer, one of our rewards. I learned so much from that experience, I can't even begin to tell you.

The farmer I was helping would load his truck up and sell his produce the next town over. That's not legal anymore around here either.

This just infuriates me to no end. you've got social organizations trying to find something constructive for kids to do to combat them joining gangs, kids complaining there's nothing to do, and juvenile crime escalating. Let them pull in a hay harvest and stack in the barn, let them crawl through an acre planting potatoes, let them spend their mornings milking cows, whatever, just let them burn that extra energy off in a responsible and constructive way.

ok, rant over, I have to calm down now.

gipsiwriter said...

So tired of the goverment telling us how to parent our children. Like the 'you can't spank your child' fad. Never been one to follow the rules myself lol. I just keep wondering how long it will take before the people stand up and say enough is enough.

Laurie Neverman, The Common Sense Woman said...

This is just crazy. Wrapping our kids in bubble wrap is killing our country. We're raising a generation that's afraid to get their hands dirty.

Anonymous said...

As usual, our well intentioned government has over stepped its' bounds and once again not minding its' own business.

all the important stuff we got to deal with and now of all times is the time to screw with farm kids. How are they supposed to learn these things, a correspondence course?

It is the same group of people who insisted on helmets, and seat belts and air bags and taking your damn tennis shoes off at the airport.

the rat

kath said...

Yet another freedom being taken away from us, and another reason why it's taking our children longer to become mature adults. Government is slowly taking control of our lives, one step at a time.

Phelan said...

10 years ago I had no farm skills. I would have preferred to have had some as a child, would have made things easier.

We are already in short supply of farmers, taking away the chance for urban children to learn and participate in this life will cause a endangerment to American farmers. There does need to be safety on farms, but looking at statistics with child deaths, it looks like indeed our safety standards are better than they once were.

Children need to be able to groom their own horse in the stalls, or learn to give vaccines, things children of farmers and wannabes have been doing for years and generations.

I wish I had heard about it while the comment section was still open. Hopefully enough people left feedback telling them no.

Phelan said...

And will this affect the Dude ranches with the family cattle drives? Or will those types of places get exemptions because the people aren't being paid to drive cattle?

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