AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
January 10, 2012
Department of Labor and Teens on Farms/Ranches
The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed significant changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that will severely impact the type of work young people are allowed to do on farms and ranches. The changes will greatly hinder a farmer or rancher in his desire to hire a young person. While the FLSA already prevents young workers from doing some tasks, there has previously been sufficient flexibility within those rules to allow young people to work in agriculture. The DOL proposal would prohibit children under the age of sixteen from assisting in a range of common agricultural practices, including the vaccination of livestock or the use of any power driven machines to do agriculture work, including tractors, pressure hoses, and battery operated tools. In addition, no one under the age of eighteen would be allowed to work in stockyards, grain elevators, feedlots, livestock exchanges, and auctions. Finally, there are also concerns that the proposal could severely limit young people from working on family farms. Small farms and ranches which rely upon younger family members to help run the farm/ranch would be forced to hire help. How will these proposals, if passed, impact the cost of food? The unemployment rate of young people? Kids in FFA or the 4H?
A Congressional letter was sent to Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis on December 16th. It opposes the proposed changes in the labor law. Click here to read the letter.
As you can see over 100 Congressmen signed the letter. Those included PA Congressmen Lou Barletta, Mark Critz, Tim Holden, Mike Kelly, Todd Russell Platts, Bill Shuster, and Glenn Thompson. If your Congressman’s name is on this list, please take time to send him a quick thanks for standing up for the rights of farmers and ranchers to hire youth and ultimately standing up for all Americans who are struggling right now to put food on their table. Click here for contact information.
FYI: The US House will be back in session on January 17th, but you can contact your Congressman’s district office nearest you for best results.