U.S. DOL Withdraws Proposed Farm Youth Labor Rule

AAI applauds the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) decision to withdraw their proposed Farm Youth Labor Rule. In December, AAI joined over 70 agricultural organizations in filling comments that supported withdrawing the proposed rule.

“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,” the DOL said in their statement.

“Rather than regulate we’re going to focus on educate,” U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Des Moines Register. “We’re anxious to get this started.”

The DOL and the USDA plan to work with rural stakeholders to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.

Iowa officials shared their approval of the DOL’s actions after the DOL’s decision was announced.

Iowa Gov. Branstad stated, “I applaud this announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw their proposed rules for young people participating in agriculture. I look forward to continuing to work with agricultural stakeholders, including the FFA and 4-H, to build upon successful grassroots initiatives that truly help to continually improve agricultural working practices for young people.”

Sec. Northey stated, ““I am pleased the U.S. Department of Labor responded to the public outcry and withdrew these proposed rules in their entirety.  We need to encourage young people to be involved with agriculture and learn from responsible adults about how to operate machinery and care for animals, these proposed rules would have done just the opposite.”