A family farmer’s sarcastic response to the new Department of Labor rules for minors working in Agriculture. Most American farms are family operations, not Big Agra:
(Beef Magazine) Here are a few points and my thoughts on the DOL proposals:
- The new rules bar children under the age of 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. That makes sense; after all, anyone who would raise tobacco is inherently evil. I just wish DOL would have taken a similar hard line on the grain guys after considering the impact of high-fructose corn syrup on kids’ waistlines, or ethanol’s negative impact on the environment. You see, they didn’t go far enough.
- DOL also proposes to bar the use of electronic devices while operating power-driven equipment. I agree wholeheartedly. I can’t bear the thought of the tragedy that might occur with a teenager answering a two-way radio call while running a grain cart at the end of a field.
- I can also understand the grave concern regarding children under 18 being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of raw farm products. That might sound like the government is trying to bar young folks from participating in agriculture entirely, but I know for a fact that a young man in my daughter’s sixth-grade class has been marketing farm-fresh eggs to his school teachers! One word comes to mind – inhumane.
- And, who could argue that prohibiting young people from working at country grain elevators, near grain bins and silos, or in feedlots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions doesn’t makes perfect sense? It makes much more sense to have these kids working at places like McDonald’s where there’s only steaming hot coffee, boiling oil and hot grills to worry about.
In fact, I don’t think these new rules go far enough to protect the youth of America. I would advocate prison, not just fines, for any feed yard owner allowing a 17-year-old kid to run a hydraulic chute in a feed yard, for instance.
Read the rest of the story: http://beefmagazine.com/cowcalfweekly/1021-comes-kids-we-are-barbarians/index.html