Labor Dept. backs off new limit on child farm laborby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
Worthington, Minn. — The U.S. Department of Labor has reversed course on a proposed rule that would have limited the sorts of work children are allowed to perform on farms.
The agency said it will release a new proposal by summer. The department's action shows the agency listened to farmer complaints, said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson said the original language would have restricted children's work on farms owned by relatives or neighbors.
"I think they backed off," Peterson said. "In the face of what I would call a lot of serious opposition. And I think they really erred on the fact that they didn't allow farm families to use common sense in deciding on who or what and what type of work that farm kids actually do."
Peterson says kids helping on farms is part of Minnesota's agricultural heritage.
The labor department says its intent is to increase protections for children working in agriculture. Studies show that children are more likely to be killed doing farm work than all other industries combined.