Omaha Public Radio News
6:59 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Johanns concerned about proposed changes to rules regarding farm work

Omaha, NE – U.S. Senator Mike Johanns is concerned about proposed rule changes by the Department of Labor that could affect farm workers.

The proposed rule changes would prohibit people under the age of 18 from working certain jobs on a farm, such as detasseling corn or taking care of livestock. Johanns, who was raised on a farm, says those jobs are important to teaching young people about work ethic and responsibility. "It's not just that younger farm children provide valuable help on the farm, it's such an important early step toward learning how to operate the farm, take responsibility, have commitment to purpose, and hopefully one day really become involved in the ag sector in some form or fashion."

Johanns says he's concerned the new rules could be applied too broadly, affecting 4H and other programs.

The proposed rule changes would also ban anyone under age 16 from operating farm machinery without a parent or guardian's supervision.