Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John Thune, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today said the Obama Administration’s announcement that it will withdraw its proposed Department of Labor (DOL) rule that would prevent youth from participating in many commonplace work activities on family farms is a victory in the war against America’s heartland, but said he would not stop fighting until the entire proposed rule is completely put to rest. Thune, who is leading the Senate effort against the DOL’s attack on rural life, introduced legislation on March 21st to prevent the radical rule from being implemented. His bill currently has 44 cosponsors, including five Democrats.

“I am pleased to hear the Obama Administration is finally backing away from its absurd 85 page proposal to block youth from participating in family farm activities and ultimately undermine the very fabric of rural America, but I will continue working to ensure this overreaching proposal is completely and permanently put to rest,” said Thune. “The Obama DOL’s youth farm labor rule is a perfect example of what happens when government gets too big.”

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 power take-off (PTO) horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.