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Is Changing the D.O.L. Child Labor Law the Answer?

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The talk about the Department of Labor’s proposed regulations on child labor has been high in the agriculture community, and for good reason, but some are questioning whether improving farm safety and providing more education to farm workers might be the answer – not changing the law.

Do you think the proposal should be passed? Is changing the law needed or would improving farm safety be the solution? Leave a comment and let us know. 

“Statistics show that while only 4 percent of working youth are in the agriculture sector, 40 percent of fatalities of working kids are associated with machines, equipment, or facilities related to agriculture. That’s way too high,” says Agricultural Secretary, Tom Vilsack in a commentary published on the USDA’s blog.

He went on to say, “We don’t want to blur the line between teaching kids about a good day’s hard work, and putting them in situations more safely handled by adults.”

The facts are out there that working on a farm can be dangerous at any age. In the proposal, some of the major changes pertain to farm safety education and training programs.

Some who oppose the proposal say they are in full support of improving farm safety and having supervision and instruction for youth working on farms. They believe the government should focus on teaching farms how to make farm tasks safer for youth instead of prohibiting them to do the job. What do you think?

It doesn’t look like a final decision will be coming anytime soon. The mass amounts of comments that were collected during the comment period will need to be reviewed before a decision is made.

The Department of Agriculture says in the months ahead, they will continue to work with the Department of Labor on how to find an approach that will help keep farm kids safe, while strengthening the agricultural economy.

Let us know what you think about the proposal and leave a comment.

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  • scott willey1.5.2012 Reply

    I believe that safer teachings and demonstrations are nessasary, but no more stupid government control. No one needs to be showing me how to raise my children on the farm.

  • ReadandWrite1.19.2012 Reply

    I’ve read the proposal in detail. It limits and doesn’t apply to family members to be included. What the bill does is lay down fair rules regarding economics and business. Personally, I prefer not to hire the cheapest and youngest kid to operate my equipment. If I do, the chances for more downtime and accidents just went up and yes, I was once there myself. This ruling has more to do with eliminating the migrant labor camps harvesting fruits and vegetables than anything else. Honestly, if we’re running a farm or business dependent on child labor solely because they are the only ones willing to work for what’s being offered, it doesn’t say much about what we’re doing.

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