U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.), is sponsoring new bipartisan legislation to protect America’s farmers from federal regulatory overreach.

The Preserving America’s Family Farm Act prevents the Department of Labor (DOL) from unilaterally imposing controversial rules that would restrict the ability of family farmers to work together as a family.

“Americans are justly concerned about the increasing reach and scope of federal intrusion,” Sessions said. “Especially troubling is that so much of this intrusion is done without public debate or votes — but simply imposed by an unelected federal bureaucracy.

“These bureaucratic farm regulations are inconsistent with the idea of limited, representative government. This is an important issue in Alabama, and our state’s farmers have a right to be protected from federal overreach, which intrudes on both their pocketbooks and their way of life.

If this kind of overreach is left unchecked, it is only a matter of time before every American family is impacted by federal rulemaking run amok.”

Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker echoed Sessions’ sentiments of protecting the rights of Alabama’s farmers.

“The Alabama Farmers Federation supports Sen. Sessions in his effort to block this overly intrusive rule that imposes more regulations on the farmer, which are simply not justified,” said Walker.

“Farming has always been a family business where kids learn the values of responsibility, animal care, leadership, and honest work. This rule, to some degree, would allow the federal government to decide how rural families should raise their kids and what type of chores would be permissible on their parent’s, grandparent’s or neighbor’s farm.”

Walker added that the Federation is a strong advocate of on-farm safety for all age groups and conducts safety training workshops across the state. 

“We view the safety of children with the highest of regard, but we also believe that parents know better than the federal government what chores are appropriate for their kids to undertake,” he said.

Last year, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis proposed 85 pages of new rules that would directly impede on the lives and livelihoods of America’s family farmers by prohibiting youth from engaging in a wide array of traditional farm activity.

These DOL rules would impose new restrictions on the handling of farm animals; common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming; operating farm machinery; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities.