Allen and Mary Kelly farm with their son Jason in Rensselaer Falls, N.Y. They milk 699 cows.
Allen and Mary Kelly farm with their son Jason in Rensselaer Falls, N.Y. They milk 699 cows.

You spoke and the government listened.

Last year when the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed widely disputed changes to child labor on agricultural operations, 10,000 farmers, 42 U.S. Senators, 153 members of the House of Representatives and numerous agricultural education instructors spoke up.  The DOL has now officially withdrawn their proposed rule, a month after announcing their intention to do so.

The rule, announced in September 2011, suggested banning youth under the age of 16 from using power equipment, working with livestock in certain circumstances, driving tractors or working at heights above six feet. Had the rule go into effect, many were concerned the impact it could have had on the future of farming.

While the rule may be officially withdrawn, the commitment to making farming safer for youth is still an important issue.  The DOL has now said it will work with rural stakeholders, including the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the National Farmers Union (NFU), the FFA and 4-H, to develop an educational program to help reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.

Read more about the withdrawn rule here.