It's a new grassroots campaign called "Let me get my hands dirty." Some Nebraska residents are voicing concerns over proposed regulations on farm labor.
We all know how important agriculture is in Nebraska. A lot of people aren't too happy with a proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor. It all centers around allowing children to keep working on farms.
What better occasion to announce the "Let me get my hands dirty" Campaign than the State FFA convention. The Farm Bureau says the proposed ruling from the Department of Labor keeps a lot of kids from making money and getting valuable experience. The proposed rule would prevent children under 16 from working on a farm that's not solely owned by their parents. Many kids wouldn't be able to detassle. City kids couldn't go to farms to work with livestock, possibly for 4-H projects.
The Department of Labor says the rule is designed to keep children out of hazardous working conditions, but many disagree. They say it's restrictive and might even hurt the local economy. Monty Larsen, an FFA Co-Advisor says, "If this legislation goes through, we will not see that kind of impact. $2.2 million added to our rural and our state economy. That makes a huge impact." The campaign asks children and adults to sign a paper hand print, which will be collected and sent to the Department of Labor, showing just how many people oppose the rule.
Many children that do work on farms are looking to gain agricultural experience and make money for college. Limiting the ability to do farm work may impact the younger generations. FFA Member Zach Kunz says, "It would take away from the younger generation. And if we take away from the younger generation, their ability to learn, grow, and prosper in not only the Ag field, but also public speaking, and also meeting new friends."
The Farm Bureau says safety is their main priority when it comes to the proposed rule, and they are willing to make compromises with the Department of Labor if possible. A final decision from U.S. Labor officials is expected this year.
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