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Beef Buzz News

Department of Labor Proposes to Stop Youth 16 or Younger from Working With Livestock

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 05:53:38 CST

Department of Labor Proposes to Stop Youth 16 or Younger from Working With Livestock Time is running out to comment on proposed regulations from the Department of Labor that would make it illegal for youth 16 years and under to do much of anything on a farm or ranch. Critics of the fifty plus page rule change say if approved, the regulations would hamstring family and multi-generational farmers, preventing them from teaching their kids valuable skills, and from supplying much needed labor on farms and ranches across the U.S.

One of the New Media warriors that we follow on Twitter, Jeff Fowle from California wrote of the proposal in his blog- "That means my son can’t help his grandparents move cattle from field to field on horseback. It is illegal for my son to help his grandparents change water. It is illegal for my son to drive the feed truck for his grandfather in the winter." Jeff adds "It is obvious that the “brilliant” folks we have in DC have absolutely no idea what impact this will have on multi-generational and extended family farms and ranches." Click here to read the full blog posting on this subject by Fowle.

The Junior Senator from Kansas, Senator Jerry Moran, is another critic of the proposal- saying that this could change the definition of a family farm to suit the faceless beaucrats inside the Washington beltway. He adds that this proposal would essentially mean that young people could no longer work with livestock on a farm or ranch. Moran is also upset with animal rights issues being injected into this proposal.

Moran is our guest on today's Beef Buzz- and he explains his concerns about the "down on the farm" Department of Labor power grab.

We have gleaned some of the key language from the fifty page multi column rule that pertains to livestock- the proposal would dictate the following to farmers and ranchers- and basically would mean no young person who is not your son or daughter working on your personal farm or ranch could work in these areas:

1. Any activity with an intact (not castrated) male equine, porcine, or bovine older than six months should be prohibited.

2. Youth should be prohibited from engaging, or assisting, in animal husbandry practices that inflict pain upon the animal and/or are likely to result in unpredictable animal behavior. These activities include, but would not be limited to, branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating, and treating sick or injured animals. Youth should also be precluded from handling animals with known dangerous behaviors.

3. Hired youth should be prohibited from herding animals on horseback. The National Farm Medicine Center noted that past and recent data indicate a significant number of animal-related injuries occur to youth when they are involved in the activities cited in its second recommendation. It also reports that ‘‘orseback herding requires a person to monitor and anticipate the behaviors of two (large) animals simultaneously. No youth development data exists to suggest youth younger than 16 years have the cognitive ability to handle this responsibility.’’

Farmers, Ranchers and others who wish to comment on the proposal of the Department of Labor have only until the first of December to submit those comments on the federal government regulations.com website. Click here for the location on that website where you can submit a comment. The first result you see in that list is the one that refers to this rule- it's entitled "Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation: Violations-Civil Money Penalties"

Comments can be submitted online. As you can see on the website- these comments have to be submitted by December first, 2011.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the listen bar below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Jerry Moran about proposed Department of Labor rules that would stop young people from working on the farm.

right-click to download mp3    

Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Jerry Moran about proposed Department of Labor rules that would stop young people from working on the farm.
right-click to download mp3


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