Senators Oppose New Labor Regulations

Earlier this week, Senators Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) and Jerry Morgan (R-Kansas) urged Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to extend the comment period for proposed changes to agricultural child labor regulations. The current deadline for comments is November 1.

The proposed changes could drastically alter farm labor practices across the country and, according to Morgan and Nelson, could impose unfair and unrealistic burdens on the agricultural sector.

The changes in question would restrict ban minors under the age of 16 from performing a variety of farm jobs. These jobs include working in crop silos and operating powered machinery. Exemptions for the new regulations would allow children to work at farms owned by their parents.

Nelson, however, argued that these exemptions do not necessarily reflect current farm realities, where family farms can be owned and operated by siblings or extended family members. Also, he argued that the regulations would  limit the effectiveness of 4-H clubs and the Future Farmers of America.

Both Nelson and Morgan asked for more time for farmers to voice their concerns. “Nebraskans deserve the time to make sure their voices are heard on this misguided rule,” Nelson said. “It is another example of Washington being out of touch with Nebraskans’ values.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer