BREAKING NEWS: Farmers gather about Department of Labor's proposed regulations on family farms

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This evening (Wed.), nearly 200 local farmers, FFA and 4-H members, along with Representatives Dave Schatz –R and Paul Curtman-R and Dan Engemann, Deputy District Director for Blaine Luetkemeyer-R met at the Colony House to discuss proposed enforcement and regulatory polices by the Department of Labor (DOL).  These policies are aimed specifically at the agricultural industry and child labor laws.

On Feb. 1, 2012 the DOL issued a news release stating, “The proposed rule aimed to increase protections for children working in agriculture while preserving the benefits that safe and healthy work can provide. The Wage and Hour Division was driven to update its 40-year-old child labor regulations by studies showing that children are significantly more likely to be killed while performing agricultural work than while working in all other industries combined. The department's child labor in agriculture statutory authority extends only to children employed in agriculture who are 15 years of age or younger.”

To read the news release click here.

Dan Engemann (pictured right) said, “This is something the congressman understands is going on.  What bothers him is you have the government saying they know more about safety on a farm than parents, grandparents…and that is just wrong.”

Engemann said, “To illustrate what the congressman has done in regards to the Department of Labor’s proposed enforcement and regulatory policies for young farm workers is he [Luetkemeyer] and his colleagues signed a letter asking the secretary of labor for an extension of the comment period.  We successfully got that extension.”

However, that extension ended on December 31, 2011.  Engemann said that the congressman hopes to get another extension for the comment period.  Engemann encouraged people to voice their opinion not just to the congressman’s office but other State Representatives as well.

One farmer asked, “What brought this on?”

Representative Dave Schatz-R (pictured left) of the 111th district said, “We have an out of control president right now. The simple answer is that we have to get rid of the guy in the White House.  He is the guy who puts those people in charge of these departments. Those are the people making rules based upon the ideology that he carries.  We need to start by getting him out of office.  He appoints the head of these departments and is able to run them under his direction and I think that is the quickest way we are going to be able to change this is to get that guy out of the White House and put in conservative minded people that understand, this is not the direction we want our country to go.”

For more information and how people can voice their opinion visit