More Obama Regulations….This Time Attacking American Farmers

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“If the federal government can regulate the relationship between parents and their children on their own family’s farm there is virtually nothing off limits”
– Senator Jerry Moran

Just when I thought Obama’s big government couldn’t get more intrusive we have this: (h/t Gateway Pundit and Allen Wall)

The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970.

The department is proposing updates based on the enforcement experiences of its Wage and Hour Division, recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and a commitment to bring parity between the rules for young workers employed in agricultural jobs and the more stringent rules that apply to those employed in nonagricultural workplaces. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.

“Children employed in agriculture are some of the most vulnerable workers in America,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Ensuring their welfare is a priority of the department, and this proposal is another element of our comprehensive approach.”

The proposal would strengthen current child labor regulations prohibiting agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins. It would prohibit farmworkers under age 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. And it would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic, including communication, devices while operating power-driven equipment.

The department also is proposing to create a new nonagricultural hazardous occupations order that would prevent children under 18 from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

Additionally, the proposal would prohibit farmworkers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment. A similar prohibition has existed as part of the nonagricultural child labor provisions for more than 50 years. A limited exemption would permit some student learners to operate certain farm implements and tractors, when equipped with proper rollover protection structures and seat belts, under specified conditions.

The proposed rules only affect “hired farm workers,” not those working on farms owned by their parents.

So that should make us all breath a sigh of relief for the American farm family right?

This just shows how much the Obamacrats are out of touch with America’s farm belt. In multi-generational farm families, you often have several siblings or other relatives living in close proximity. Parts of the operation may be owned by several family members. Some of the land may be rented. Some family farms are technically considered limited liability corporations or other such arrangements. It can get complicated.

Johnny might work on his dad’s farm, but he might also go right next door to his uncle’s property to work for him a few hours in the afternoon. These rule changes would make that traditional practice much more difficult.

Under these rules, kids wouldn’t get to drive (or sometimes even ride!) tractors. Typically, farm youngsters drive tractors from an early age. I did. My 14-year old nephew, an experienced tractor driver, tells me he started driving a tractor at about age 7 and was driving in the field by 9 or 10.

Not only do the new regulations prohibit the kids’ driving tractors, except under certain conditions, they can’t even ride the tractors!

Farm kids would also be restricted from working with livestock.

To be sure, livestock, like farm machinery, can be dangerous. I remember my dad told me never to turn my back on a bull. But does the DOL think farmers aren’t aware of the dangers? That’s precisely why farm children are exposed to the farm operations from an early age, then gradually placed into positions of more and more responsibility.

Thankfully Senators Thune and Moran along with 37 co-sponsors are offering up a bill to fight this attack our farmers:

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.

“The Department of Labor has proposed 85 pages of unreasonable and overreaching rules that would unnecessarily restrict the participation of young people in agriculture related activities,” said Thune. “Family farms and farming communities teach young people responsible work ethics and these proposed rules would change that by severely limiting the commonplace activities in which young people can learn about agriculture. This is another example of the Obama administration initiating unsolicited regulations that would prohibit normal practices that have been carried out in rural areas for generations—not to mention limiting a desperately needed workforce to replace the current generation of farmers whose average age is nearing 60 years old.”

“There is no better example of the vast overreach of government into the everyday lives of Americans than the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to regulate young people working on farms and ranches,” Sen. Moran said. “For generations, the contributions of young people have helped family farm and ranch operations survive and prosper. If this proposal goes into effect, not only will the shrinking rural workforce be further reduced, and our nation’s youth be deprived of valuable career training opportunities, but a way of life will begin to disappear. This proposal should alarm more than just rural America

The Department of Labor Secretary, a person who cares little if immigrant’s are legal or not, put these new proposals up last year but the outcry was so great she had to postpone the implementation and just announced last month they she will “re-propose” the “Parental Exemption” regulation.

Either way this is just one more example of Obama regulating every little aspect of our lives.

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

29 Responses to “More Obama Regulations….This Time Attacking American Farmers”

  1. 1

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    That’s how law-making works in a democratic republic. Many times laws are made which require modification based on events not foreseen in future situations. These circumstances may be readily apparent in the Stand You Ground law—which I support—and the recent events that occurred involving the death of the seventeen year old boy, Trayvon Martin, in Florida.

  2. 2

    Nan G

    No more mucking out the stables, feeding the horses or even brushing them for extra bucks?
    All young farm girls should go ballistic on this!
    If they can make a big enough stink Obama will back off….as usual.

    Obama’s DOL is running this up the pole to see if there is enough squawking to have to pull it back.
    He does this same thing all the time.
    Remember his calling Fox News ”not a real news channel,” and how all the other news channels circled their wagons around the larger freedom of the press issue against Obama?
    Remember how Obama tried to tell women they didn’t need mammograms until after age 60?

    He’s looking for weak gazelles to break off from the herd so he can pick them off.
    He will not stop doing this as long as he holds power.

  3. 3


    @Liberal1 (objectivity):

    So you support making activities that ALL FFA and 4H kids do, illegal? What the hell is wrong with you? Kids have been working farms for as long as there has been farms. Do we now have some epidemic of farm deaths in kids?

    Well, let me be very clear; more kids are killed on the streets of Chicago by gangbangers than are killed in farm accidents. Perhaps Obama should look to the streets of concrete instead of our nation’s farm lands if he wants to see death in children. He can start with his adopted home of Chicago. Or Dallas, where a group of black boys, ages 13-16 killed another black boy over an I-pod by throwing him off a Metro train causing him to be dragged to death by the train. Still waiting for Al Sharpton to repond to that crime.

    This is nothing but a move to control other people’s children.

  4. 4

    © Sponge

    I will never, ever understand the liberal mindset. Ever. I don’t WANT to as I fear it will be a “Scanners” moment and my head would explode.

    Banning kids from working on the family farm or participating in an FFA or 4H club has absolutely NOTHING to do with the murder in Florida, making you and your comment in this thread worthy of the Billy Madison Ultimate Insult.

    Please, stop posting as we’re all much dumber for having read your completely irrelevant comment.

  5. 5

    Nan G

    @© Sponge:

    Banning kids from working on the family farm or participating in an FFA or 4H club …..

    Good comment, Sponge.
    The above portion made me recall how I got my first earned cash: working on our farm/ranch as a child.
    We sold it when I was 11 so I guess I was a ”child.”
    Anyway, most kids who work on family farms are paid a little something.
    And they learn on their jobs.
    Oddly, Obama’s DOL opposes all unpaid internships EXCEPT those unpaid interns at Congress and the White House!
    What nonsense!
    While colleges and universities cost tens and hundreds of thousands and give students little in marketable skills, working on your family’s farm or at a business which does what you’d love to do someday gives great marketable skills to the unpaid or poorly paid apprentice.
    But Obama opposes such freebies.
    You are only allowed to learn from his highly paid union cronies.

  6. 7


    How timely, Ihave an interview for a volunteer position with the county 4-H today. So, what will kids be allowed to do? The home ec and crafts part? Can’t raise crops, that means handling dangerous farm equipment and “chemicals.” And let’s make sure NO kids ever handle livestock-then they might realize food doesn’t come in plastic from government warehouses (like their mandatory school lunches). Don’t let ’em help in the field-that’s taking work away from those illegal immigrants (not to mention letting people see how Obama’s illegals-loving cronies actually TREAT those illgal immigrants-I mean, god forbid rich white suburban liberals have to pay a little more to the guy who cuts their lawn or for their fresh produce. Remember, social security is for the little employers to track.)

  7. 8



    Let me see, what are the activities that might be considered illegal on a ranch:

    Operating tractors, dozers, loaders, semi-tractors, chainsaws, feeding with a team in 40 below with three feet of snow on the ground, milking the family cow, checking a trap line with a horse or snowmobile, gathering cattle by yourself, skidding logs with a horse, all logging operations, butchering pigs, beef, moose, elk, chickens, setting traps and snares, guiding hunters or packing in supplies… oh my goodness, my dad would be doing 27 life terms.

    These people want us to raise up a bunch of wimps and sissies to control with their regulations and BS. This guy must go as soon as possible. Destroy Marxism in America, vote against Obama.

  8. 9

    Hard Right

    Gee, I guess we’ll have to teach them how to use firearms, self defense, and the Constitution instead. Let’s see how they like that.

  9. 10


    If I understand this right, the Obama administration will allow a 16 year old to drive a 4oo hp sports car 75 MPH on the highway legally, but he could not drive a truck on the farm to pick up any crops. He would not be able to operate a tractor with a 20 HP PTO power at 10 Miles an hour! A 12 year old will not be able to herd the cows into the barn for milking. Maybe Obama’s increasing energy costs are not considered enough to destroy the family farm. Now, he will keep rural kids from earning money. Maybe the plan is to encourage illigals to come in the country to do the work! That means more Democrat votes!

  10. 12

    oil guy from Alberta

    This is unbelievable. 4H was a critical part of my upbringing. The beef and seed clubs were my pastime and vehicles of all sorts were necessary. I started driving farm equipment at the age of 10. Farming kept me off the streets and gave me tons of responsibility. The money my dad saved having his 3 sons working like men was critical in establishing a very successful seed mill. Farms give boys the chance to be real men. I know this as a fact- this would never happen in Canada. Fight this people, with everything you got.

  11. 13

    B. Johnson

    An inspection Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, which takes just a few minutes, shows that the Founding States never delegated to Congress the specific power to address labor issues. The Founding States had also made the 10th Amendment to clarify in general that the Constitution’s silence about things like labor issues and healthcare means that the states had reserved government power to address such issues uniquely to themselves, not Congress and the Oval Office.

    Additionally, Sections 1-3 of Article I shows that the Founding States had vested all legislative powers of the federal government in the elected members of the two Houses of Congress. So even if the states had granted Congress the constitutional authority to address labor issues, Congress cannot delegate its regulatory powers to non-elected federal government officials imo. By doing so, Congress is wrongly protecting federal legislative powers from the wrath of the voters.

    So widespread ignorance of Congress’s constitutionally limited powers is the only way that I can explain why businesses and citizens obligate themselves to comply with federal regulations made by non-elected federal government officials of rogue federal agencies like the Department of Labor and the EPA, especially since the states have never granted Congress the specific constitutional powers to address related issues.

    Finally, should the states eventually decide it best to allow Congress to address labor issues, there is nothing stopping the states from exercising their unique Article V power to ratify proposed amendments to the Constitution to do so to grant Congress the specific power to address labor issues.

    What a mess! :^(

  12. 14


    My daughter (9 years old) has driven our tractor, albeit with me riding alongside on the wheelguard. Tractor is actually a pretty safe vehicle in that it moves slowly and can be stopped dead with a switch.
    As for their rules, well: let them make their rules, and then let’s see them enforce them. ‘The mountains are high, and the emperor is far away’, as they say in China.

  13. 15

    Nan G

    What would really happen IF these become actual law?
    A whole new crop of lawbreakers.
    People will not turn themselves in.
    Obama really would need a ”civilian defense corps” bigger than our military to even put a dent in this.

  14. 16

    John Cooper

    @Nan G:

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt.”

    –Dr. Ferris in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, 1957

  15. 18


    Just more social engineering from the “Low Life Chicago Turd In Chief” What a friggin joke ! guess my old man would have been arrested in the late 60’s and all through the 70’s. Does the stupid S.O.B. really think American Farmers are gonna abide by such a stupid law? I sure as hell would’nt ! I know the Hutterites in Montana sure as hell won’t.

  16. 21

    Larry Uloth

    I really wonder when we are going to stop paying attention to this BS….also this just points out which of the agency’s need to be disbanded…Labor, EPA, Education among others….we need to push to have this happen…you want to really impact the debt…close down a few agencys….take the money saved and apply it to the debt…

  17. 22


    @Larry Uloth:

    I really wonder when we are going to stop paying attention to this BS

    That’s actually part of the problem, Larry. Too many amongst “we, the people” have already stopped paying attention to things such as this. No longer do people recognize government overreach on authority, especially when it doesn’t “hit home” to things they are interested in, or engaged in.

    Today, too many people are all about themselves. Only the specific things within their own little lives matter, and no one even gives a second thought to others losing their rights and freedoms. They remain blissfully unaware that overreach and infringement two counties, or two states, away actually affect their lives. Too many people, today, are more concerned about where Peyton Manning will play football, or which survivor ‘star’ will be voted off next, or which Kardashian sister will end up pregnant next, than in how the government is continuing to regulate more and more of our lives.

    Lib1, Rich, Larry W. and others all downplay, or “pooh-pooh” the claims of conservatives about lost freedoms and government power grabs. Blissfully ignorant is the only way to describe them.

  18. 25


    @liberalmann: The post is about something other than the Florida killing because there’s more than one thing going on in the world at one time. I’m pretty sure there’s a more appropriate discussion (even on this site!) underway where you can comment about it, if you like.
    @liberalmann: Most kids actually like some amount of farm work. But in any case children end up doing all sorts of things they might not volunteer for, at their parents’ direction. Going to school, brushing their teeth, doing their homework. This does not make them slaves. Especially on a modern farm, the kids’ economic contribution is slight and parents generally return whatever money they make to them anyway in an attempt to instill character (teach kids about earning and managing money).

  19. 26

    Comm0n Sense

    @liberalmann: Your are a confirmed idiot. Do you even know what a farm looks like?? Slaves?? Come on man, you’re so stupid it would be literally impossible to teach you how to wipe your own but. I was raised on a farm and for a farmer’s son to work with his father on the farm is certainly NOT slavery y0u twitt. If this where a Republican President that came up with this the MSM would be saying “war on farmers”!! Please crawl back into your hole!!

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