Agriculture Group Supports Withdraw Of Proposed Child Labor Restrictions

May 1, 2012


Larry Matlack, President of the American Agriculture Movement (AAM), commends the U.S. Department of Labor for listening to the many Congressional and agriculture leaders calling for the proposed rule on children under 16 years of age working in agricultural vocations to be withdrawn.


“AAM urged the Labor Department to withdraw the proposed rule which would have restricted a parent’s ability to teach their children important farming lessons and experiences,” declared Matlack, a grain and forage producer from Burrton, Kan.  “As a grandfather, father and an advocate for family farmers, the last thing anyone of us needs is for the government to dictate how we teach our children the skills necessary to carry on our legacy.”


Matlack stated “the United States Government did the right thing by listening to the outcry from rural residents and groups and reversing their decision on limiting activities our children were allowed to do.”   “The Department of Labor’s attempts to protect children from dangerous farming operations through the proposed rule was an over ambitious effort.  No parent or family member is going to put a child in unnecessarily harmful situations,” concluded Matlack. 


AAM has been a leader in the advocacy of a strong agricultural community since their founding over three decades ago.  Toward that goal, AAM is a advocate for ensuring producers has a strong voice in matters affecting rural communities. 



WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:

"The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations.

"As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.

"The decision to withdraw this rule — including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' — was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.

"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders — such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H — to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices."