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Keeping the Family Farm
by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: July 31, 12
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Keeping the Family Farm. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
Back in the late 60‘s and early 70‘s, if you wanted to get a good summer job working on one of the local farms you had to take safety classes to get a worker safety card. It was assumed that most of the farm kids already knew not to grab on to a PTO shaft when it was moving. Common sense told the rest of us it was a dumb thing to do! When the Department of Labor proposed new rules that would have eliminated the opportunity for a lot of young people to work on the nation’s farms and ranches, the agriculture community spoke out. Now that the department has rescinded that proposal, many want to make sure they don’t see a repeat performance any time soon.
BOSWELL: The Preserving Family Farms Act was introduced by Congressman Tom Latham of Iowa when the regulation was still pending. Initially the intent was to block the implementation of that child labor proposal. When the administration withdrew the proposal Congressman Latham was still concerned and wanted to protect family farms into the future. So he amended the bill so that the Department of Labor would not be able to introduce something similar.
American Farm Bureau Labor Specialist Kristi Boswell says the proposal went too far.
Boswell: It was very prohibitive in what tasks it restricted. It basically prevented youth from doing simple, mundane tasks that they should be able to do with proper training and supervision.
And Boswell says there’s no question it’s the Department of Labor’s job to ensure the safety of young people who work on farms and ranches, there are better ways to accomplish that.
Boswell: Broad-reaching federal regulation wasn’t the answer. Looking forward we hope that we can work with the Department of Labor and the USDA in developing safety programs and possibly crafting some more appropriate regulation and looking at the current regulations to make sure that their concerns are addressed and it still protects that agricultural way of life.
Boswell talks about efforts to promote farm safety.
Boswell: Agriculture can be dangerous and it is important to make sure that everyone working on our farms are safe and American Farm Bureau will continue to work with the USDA and other interested members in the industry to promote farm safety programs and to educate parents and youth who are doing the tasks on the farm on how to do things properly and in a safe manner.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
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