COLUMBIA, MISSOURI - Darla Eggers, a member of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association (MCA), stood in front of the Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources committee encouraging the passage of Senate Bill 16. Eggers, a cattlewoman and employee of Sydenstricker Genetics, Mexico Mo., said when the Department of Labor proposed a regulation last year that would essentially ban youth from working on farms and ranches, it inspired states across the country to review its labor requirements. This process revealed that Missouri needed to do some fine-tuning to its labor requirements.
"This bill is simple," said Eggers. "It exempts farm work performed by youth under the age of 16 from certain labor requirements. However, the legislation is clear that this exemption only applies to children who are working with the knowledge and consent of their parents or legal guardians. This bill is a no-brainer. The only way to sustain the future of Missouri's agricultural sector is to empower the next generation of passionate stewards of the land."
Senate Bill 16, introduced by Sen. Brian Munzlinger, exempts farm work performed by children under the age of 16 from certain child labor requirements such as operating and maintaining power-driven machinery, climbing ladders and operating vehicles.. This exemption only applies to children working on their own family farms and, when with the knowledge and consent of their parents, the family farms of others.
"I urge you in every action you take that you never lose sight of the future of agriculture and the future begins with our youth," said Eggers. "This bill is a positive step in allowing young people to learn the importance of hard work and caring for the land. These young people will be the leaders in their schools and will be the shining stars of their local communities."