Administration to criminalize teens working on their own family farms
Some farmers are opposing new rules proposed by the federal government that would restrict the chores children can be hired to perform in the nation’s fields, including driving tractors and rounding up cattle in corrals on horseback.
The U.S. Department of Labor says its proposal aims to look after children’s safety in a dangerous industry. The rules would bar most farm hands younger than 16 years old from jobs such as operating power equipment, branding and breeding farm animals, and working atop ladders at heights over six feet.
Farmers say the planned regulations are overreaching.
“Are we going to outlaw children helping mom bake cookies in the kitchen because they might get their hand in the blender?” asked Scott Neufeld, a farmer in Major County, Okla., who said he worked 10-hour days driving a combine at age 14. “That’s the equivalent of what we’re doing with youth in the farm.”