Ny Farmers Fight Against New Labor Regulations

04.18.12 | Jeremy Miller

Family farms

Many farmers throughout New York State are trying to block new federal labor regulations, which they say threaten the future of family farms. The U.S. Department of Labor issued new guidelines governing the employment of 14 and 15 year olds. The regulations are designed to protect the child's health and safety by restricting their access to heavy equipment and hazardous conditions, but the New York Farm Bureau says the rules are misguided to the point where they could prohibit a teen employed on a farm from "using a flashlight or unloading a truck." Many farmers say the government is over-reaching and interfering with the way farm families raise their kids. Opponents also say the regulation would discourage parents from teaching their children how to operate farms, threatening the future of farms that have been maintained by generations of one family. North Country Congressman Bill Owens has co-sponsored legislation that would block implementation of the new rules, which are slated to take effect this summer.