WASHINGTON, DC– Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) sent a letter to President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Labor flagging a proposed change to regulations impacting children who work on family farms across the United States. Specifically, Noem is concerned with the changes to the definition of a family farm within this new regulation and further restrictions for hiring youth. The proposed rule could seriously undermine traditional family agriculture if the exemption for family farms does not include those partly owned by close relatives.
“Many South Dakotans rely on family labor for support, including the Hutterite communities in the state. The wording of this proposal needs to be significantly changed in order to clearly exempt family farms operated by aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other close relatives regardless of the legal structure of the farming operation,” Noem stated in the letter.
“Agriculture is South Dakota’s leading industry and I’m concerned this broadly written proposal will negatively impact South Dakota agriculture. It’s my hope that the Department of Labor will take a second look at this regulation,” said Noem.
The public comment period on the proposed rule closed on December 1, 2011. The Department of Labor is currently reviewing the comments but the timeline for a final rule is unclear.