What is in this article?:
• U.S. Department of Labor’s withdraws proposed rule dealing with family farms and child labor.
• Rule would have prevented the children of farming families from many work-related activities.
• Lead-up to DOL decision, farm groups' actions discussed.
Election year helped
“I suspect the fact that this is an election year helped them make that decision.”
On the DOL saying the rules won’t be revisited as long as Obama is in office…
“DOL says it won’t promulgate the rule but that (could provide wiggle room).
“This is an important victory for agriculture. Maybe the biggest victory is that so many different agricultural groups and individuals not only hung together, but did so for so long. That proves the strength of a unified agriculture.
“A lot of times, the commodity groups and associations and farmers from different states compete with one another. It isn’t always easy for such unification on the same issue for so long.
“My concern is that the actual definition of the family farm exemption hasn’t changed. That was what the DOL, the USDA and others kept telling us when agriculture became angry about this. They said ‘well, we understand why you’re so angry. But you don’t understand what we’re doing because the definition for “family farm” hasn’t changed.’
“Well, we feared and know that they were starting to reinterpret the definition and to enforce it differently than they had in the past. And they could still do that.
“We hope they won’t. We hope the marker has been put out that agriculture will be very angry (if they continue).
“The way the definition is written, children are still not exempted on their grandparents’ or aunts’ and uncles’ farms. By strict interpretation, if your family farm is an LLC -- or some kind of limited partnership, which so many are – that is partly, or mostly, owned by the grandparents and the child’s parents aren’t the sole operators/decision-makers, the (law) is still murky. There is still some risk for the family farm exemption – it doesn’t exist as most people perceive.”
Will Congress pass legislation regarding this?
“Many of our allies have been talking to Congress. They’ve been warning – and will continue to – lawmakers about this. A lot of folks in Congress are watching.
“So, (the DOL announcement) was a really good thing. But we can’t just walk away and forget about it. It requires more vigilance. That’s a good thing because it will help keep the coalition of disparate agricultural groups together.”