U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) issued the following statement in response to the Department of LaborвЂ™s decision to withdraw its proposed restrictions on youth working on AmericaвЂ™s family farms:
вЂњThe Obama administrationвЂ™s decision to back down from implementing these ridiculous regulations is the right one,вЂќ said Hatch. вЂњTo even suggest imposing such extreme restrictions reveals the White HouseвЂ™s profound ignorance about AmericaвЂ™s rural heritage and way of life. Washington has no business trying to regulate the relationship of parents and children on our family farms. It is truly sad that it took pressure from me and others in the Senate, as well the public outcry from farming families in Utah and other states, for the Administration to see that.
вЂњIf the Labor DepartmentвЂ™s suggested rules had been allowed to go forward, it would have not only jeopardized a way of life, but robbed our youth of the opportunity to learn the skills and work ethic that will not only help them succeed in any endeavor, but also have made the American farmer and farming industry the envy of the world.вЂќ
Last year, U.S. Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis proposed draconian rules that would have hurt family farming operations by restricting youth under 18 from being near certain animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and foot trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would have severely limited youth from participating in the 4-H Program, FFA activities and youth safety classes. It also would bar them from operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower, doing tasks at elevations higher than six feet, and working in stockyards and grain and feed facilities. In fact, the language was so extreme, it would have banned youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or using a pressurized garden hose.
This past December, Hatch and 29 Senate colleagues sent aВ letter to Secretary Solis, asking her to withdraw the proposed rules.