Proos co-sponsors pro-family farmer resolution

LANSING – A Senate panel on Thursday approved a resolution co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos calling on the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to stop proposed rules that would prohibit children under age 16 from performing many duties on a farm – including all interaction with animals.

“The values, work ethic and life skills learned on the family farm are at the core of our Southwest Michigan community,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “While protecting young adults in the workplace is a laudable goal, the reality of these onerous rules would be destroying the generational family farm and community organizations like 4-H and FFA, which are central to our Southwest Michigan communities. I co-sponsored this resolution because it is important that we make our voices be heard in Washington because their actions can have real, damaging effects on families and farmers in the real world.”

Proos noted that the proposed revisions to the federal child labor regulations by the DOL would strictly prohibit, for youths less than 16 years old, any agricultural work with animals and virtually any equipment run by both power or by hand or foot.

“These proposed rules illustrate the vast disconnect between Washington bureaucrats and Midwestern family farmers. Working on a farm instils in youths invaluable lessons that greatly help them in whatever profession they choose,” Proos said. “These regulations would ban participation by youths in raising animals and showing them at the local county fair, milking the family cow or helping parents to feed the horses. The proposals are outrageous and must be stopped.”

Senate Resolution 94 has been sent to full Senate for consideration.