National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bill Donald told those attending the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., that their voices were heard by the Department of Labor. That was after DOL announced it intends to reconsider a portion of its proposed rule related to on-farm child labor. The rule was widely panned by agriculture.
"We are adamantly opposed to this rule for the reason that it goes to the very core of who we are not just as a cattle industry or agriculture in general but who we are as a nation," Donald said. "Talk to HR people from corporations or recruiters for the armed services, they are looking for someone who has an ag background; someone who grew up on a farm or ranch because they have a work ethic. They have to get up in the morning and do their chores before they get on that school bus, they have chores when they come back."
Donald also says caring for an animal as an FFA or 4-H project also teaches youth a sense of responsibility. The proposed rule would not allow anyone under the age of 16 to be in close proximity to an animal.
"They couldn't ride a horse, they couldn't have a show steer, they couldn't have a show lamb," Donald said. "It is a ridicules rule when you think about the impact it could have. The Department of Labor has said they are going to revisit the rule. That is a good first step, but what they need to do is pull it."
Donald went on to say that it seems as though the administration is trying to use regulations to do what they can't get passed legislatively and that it is a violation of separation of powers.
Use the video player on this page to listen to NCBA Vice President of Governmental Affairs Colin Woodall discuss the proposed rule and the action that has taken place.