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Labor Department withdraws controversial new farm rules

Labor Department withdraws controversial new farm rules

April 29th, 2012 in News

In response to months of opposition from farmers, the Obama Administration has withdrawn a proposed new U.S. Labor Department rule that would have made it difficult to hire youth to work on farms.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, who represents Callaway County in Congress, was one of the leaders of the opposition during the last several months.

The Missouri Farm Bureau also opposed the new rule.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon praised the action after the Labor Department dropped the controversial new rules.

"The regulatory machine in Washington is out of control and I am pleased to see administrators of the Department of Labor have pulled their proposed rule that threatens youth involvement in agriculture," Luetkemeyer said.

"The last thing the government should be doing is telling young people they can't gain valuable experience on a farm," Luetkemeyer said.

Luetkemeyer said the Obama Administration's rule would have "fundamentally altered the way agriculture has been practiced in our country for generations and undermined parental oversight of farm youth."

In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sponsored bipartisan legislation calling on the Department of Labor to withdraw regulations restricting the ability of youngsters in farm families to work on a farm.

"I'm glad the Obama Administration finally heeded our calls and backed down from this ridiculous government overreach. Having grown up on farms, I understand just how absurd this rule is for our nation's agriculture industry," Blunt said.

Nixon also criticized the Obama Administration for proposing the rules. "The withdrawal of these rules restores common sense for farm families across Missouri," Nixon said.

Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, said the new rules would prohibit young people from using lawnmowers and power tools and from performing basic care of animals.