Today’s Topic: Proposed federal farm labor regulations

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe U.S. Department of Labor is collecting public comments until Dec. 1 about new proposed rules governing child labor on farms.

Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda that, while the proposed rules are aimed at making farms safer for children under the age of 16, they actually go too far. In some cases, these rules wouldn’t even allow a farmer’s own children to work on a farm.

The proposal states that family farms are allowed to employ their children who are younger than 16 in activities that are deemed hazardous. But they can do that only if the farm is owned by the parents. If the farm is owned by a family corporation or partnership that isn’t solely controlled by the parents, the exemption doesn’t apply.

This ignores the realities of agriculture. Many family farms are partnerships or corporations that include several generations or siblings. These farms wouldn’t qualify for the exemption, meaning kids wouldn’t have an opportunity to do a lot of the farm chores that they’ve grown up doing.

Click below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about this topic.

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