Miss. Senators work to stop regulation of farm youth labor

U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) are leading 28 of their colleagues in asking U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to withdraw the recently proposed rule that limits the ability of farmers and ranchers to hire youth to work in agriculture – threatening the education and training of future farmers. At issue are the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standard Act which fail to take into account the history and practices of American agriculture.

“After having additional time to review the Proposed Rule and compare the proposed changes to existing statutory law, regulations, and the Department’s existing interpretive documents, we believe initial concerns were well-founded. As a result of these concerns, we request the Department withdraw the Proposed Rule in its entirety,” the Senators state in a letter to Secretary Solis. “It is puzzling why the Department would suddenly propose changes to existing regulations, particularly considering the advancements in farm equipment and adoption of technologies that have improved operator safety in the last 35 years.”

In addition to Sens. Moran and Nelson, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), David Vitter (R-La.), James Risch (R-ID), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Mark Kirk (R