On February 1, 2012, the Department of Labor decided to reissue the parental exemption notification this summer to allow for more public comment on the definition of parental farm ownership. In a statement, Secretary Solis said, “The Department of Labor appreciates and respects the role of parents in raising their children and assigning tasks and chores to their children on farms and of relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles in keeping grandchildren, nieces and nephews out of harm’s way.”
NMPF appreciates the recognition of the Department of Labor that increasing regulations on family farms should be done in a thoughtful manner, with the input of all the stakeholders, to not disrupt the sanctity of on-farm child education while also providing for the safest setting for America’s youth. However, reconsidering the parental exemption is only one part of the proposed rules. NMPF wants to continue to encourage America’s dairy farmers to explain the role youth play on farms and the safe manner in which they work. Specifically, farm families can continue to speak to the importance of summer workforce has in the growth of rural youth as they learn the process of providing the safest, most quality agriculture product to America’s families. The proposed rules to youth interacting with livestock or operating machinery are still a concern and we need America’s farmers to continue to tell their stories on how this would impact their way of life.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) has created a website to collect personal stories about how the changes would impact family farms. Please visit www.keepfamiliesfarming.com to post comments in response to the proposed laws.