Nebraska Farmers Oppose New Labor Laws

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is currently mobilizing farmers and agricultural advocates to oppose new Department of Labor regulations regarding child labor.

Earlier this year, the Labor Department published new guidelines regarding child labor on farms and agricultural operations. The purpose of the new regulations, according to Labor Department officials, was to update and modernize child labor laws, which have not been changed since the 1970s.

The new laws would significantly limit the ability of children to work on non-family farms. Children would be forbidden to work with livestock, to operate most mechanical farm equipment, and to work in silos.

The regulations, farm advocates say, do not take into consideration the modern face of farming. For example, some Nebraska children, who have worked on farms all their lives and are currently employed at farms operated by their parents, would no longer be able to work because their parents do not own the farm.

According to the National Affairs Coordinator of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, “There are some hazardous things on a farm, however when you look at the reality of the situation and the things they’re trying to protect against, they’re going above and beyond and really have no backing.”

Labor officials, however, claim that they are merely concerned with the welfare of children.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer