Earlier this week, state senator Merlin Bartz (R-Grafton) called on the U.S. Department of Labor to put a hold on implementing 70 pages of newly proposed rules changes for youth working on farms. The northern Iowa farmer also urged federal officials to go visit these farms and see the job-killing effect these rules will have on agriculture in America if they put in place as proposed.
"These proposed changes will have a major impact on farms, farmers, and our rural youth who are interested in a job or career in agriculture," Bartz said. "The last thing a federal bureaucrat in Washington needs to be doing is telling kids they are prohibited from baling hay for their grandpa or uncle."
The Federal Department of Labor (DOL) released the proposed changes on September 2, 2011 in an effort to gather public comments until November 1.
Bartz: proposed new child labor rules will kill jobs & youth ag programs
"It seems unusual that the DOL would publish these proposed rules during the height of harvest season when many farmers are working long hours. These proposed job-killing regulations also were announced at almost the same time the President came to north Iowa to speak about creating jobs," Bartz added. "It's ironic that this federal agency must not be in tune with public policy makers."
The proposed rules could negatively affect 4-H and FFA kids who have livestock and other projects, according to Bartz. "I suggest that anyone who has an interest in 4-H, FFA, or other ag learning experiences take a look at these proposed rules, particularly if they are dealing with livestock."
He adds, "I hope this isn't an anti-agriculture Washington, D.C. pattern. First it was the EPA and their proposed dust rules; then it was the DOT with their proposed tractor license rules; now it's the DOL with their 4-H, FFA, and farm labor rules. I think they're out of touch."
He urges people to send comments to DOL via email before Nov. 1
The specific proposed rules can be found in 29 CFR Parts 570 and 579, published in the Federal Register Vol. 76, No. 171, on Friday, September 2, 2011. Comments on the rules can be submitted to 1.usa.gov/n4BiLB. Written comments should be mailed to: The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S., Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20210 and should include a reference to RIN 1235-AA06.