U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., released the following statements regarding the Department of Labor’s (DOL) decision to withdraw its controversial proposed restrictions on youth working on family farms.
“If the Administration follows through on its promise to not pursue these rules, this is a win for agriculture and the traditions of rural America,” said Enzi. “The federal government has no place telling families how they can raise their children on the farm. Wyoming ranchers and farmers stood up to Washington’s overreach and their voices were heard.”
“It’s clear that the only reason the Obama Administration canceled this absurd rule is because of the President’s upcoming election. The fact that the Administration even proposed it in the first place shows how out of touch they are with hard working family farms across the country and their way of life,” said Barrasso. “This rule would have also threatened successful farm safety training and certification programs like 4-H, Extension Service, and FFA. In order to protect Wyoming’s rural values and ensure the future of our agricultural communities, I will fight to make sure this rule is never finalized. We cannot back down against Washington’s continued efforts to control our lives and change our values.”
Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would have restricted 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, or 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. The rules would have prohibited youth from 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 was so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.
In March of this year, Enzi and Barrasso joined 36 of their colleagues in introducing the Preserving America’s Family Farm Act, to prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from enacting its controversial proposed restrictions on youth working on family farms.
In December of last year, a group of 30 Senators, including Enzi and Barrasso, sent a letter to Secretary Solis requesting that the proposed rule be withdrawn and outlined numerous concerns.