CAPITAL DISTRICT Recently proposed the Department of Labor regulations limiting the roles of minors working on farms have been withdrawn as of April 26.
Farmer advocacy groups came out against the rules, saying they would have negatively affected family farms in Upstate New York.
Congressman Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, fought the proposed rules in part by writing a letter to the labor secretary asking the rule to be modified or withdrawn. He said he had consulted with many farmers on his Agriculture Advisory Committee as well as those in his district. The issue was also discussed at the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee field hearing in Saranac Lake in March.
Agriculture advocates rejoiced in the decision.
“Make no mistake — this is a major victory for New York’s farm families and their strong grassroots activism, said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau, in a statement. “The agricultural community in our state and across the nation saw this proposal clearly for what it was – a blatant regulatory overreach by Washington, D.C. United in this common cause tens of thousands of negative comments and letters flooded Congress and USDOL, and as a result we were victorious.”
The New York Farm Bureau said DOL Secretary Hilda Solis finally “saw the light” recognizing that family farms are important to “our economy and our rural way of life, and that we simply can’t afford to jeopardize their future.”
“New York Farm Bureau looks forward to working with USDOL on its proposed youth education safety initiative. Hopefully, this offer to work collaboratively represents a change at USDOL that will demonstrate that they want to work with us and not against us,” said Norton.