Tags: palin | labor | rule | farm | chores | 4-H | solis

Palin Blasts Labor Dept. Rules Banning Farm Chores

Thursday, 26 Apr 2012 04:30 PM

By Marti Lotman

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Sarah Palin took to Facebook Thursday to warn followers that the Obama administration’s attempt to control what chores children can do on a farm is not where the government’s intrusion will end.

“If you think the government’s new regs will stop at family farms, think again,” the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate wrote, according to Politico.

“The Obama Administration is working on regulations that would prevent children from working on our family farms. This is more overreach of the federal government with many negative consequences,” she said Wednesday in a post titled, “If I Wanted America to Fail, I’d Ban Kids From Farm Work.”

The proposed Department of Labor regulations would prevent anyone younger than 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting, and curing of tobacco, and from operating most power-driven machinery.

The proposed law would not apply to children working on family owned farms, but farm-state legislators say that rule shows the ignorance of Washington bureaucrats about the state of many farms.

"The department ultimately showed its complete lack of understanding of the structure of modern agriculture when it proposed banning youth from working on a farm or ranch not wholly owned by their parents. Something known as the 'parental exemption' allows farms jointly owned and operated by multiple family members — a common practice in rural America — discretion over the responsibilities given to youth on the farm," wrote Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who introduced legislation with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., to prevent the Labor Department from implementing the restrictions.

"The department’s original proposal significantly narrowed the application of the parental exemption," Moran continued. "It would have made it illegal for jointly owned farms and ranches to employ their family members."

The proposal has drawn plenty of criticism from other rural-district members of Congress.  “Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

That's virtually everywhere on a typical farm.

First proposed Aug.31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the regulations would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course. That's a huge blow to those groups, which are an important part of midwestern and southern farm culture.

“My family is a commercial fishing family, and commercial fishing in Alaska is much like the family farm (but the year ‘round farmers no doubt work harder than we do!). I guarantee fishing families wouldn’t stand for this nonsensical intrusion into our lives and livelihoods, and, as a former 4-H member, I don’t believe farm families will either,” Palin wrote. “Our kids learn to work and to help feed America on our nation’s farms, and out on the water.

“Federal government: get your own house in order and stop interfering in ours,” she concluded.

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