If the Department of Labor gets their way, my kids, nieces and nephews nor high school kids can work on our dairy farm until the age of 18, 16 if they never go near one of our cows.
I grew up on a farm and am now blessed to live and work on our farm. By learning at a young age and wanting to follow my dad around and learn about the farm, my home, I learned how to gently work with cows, mix feed, and learned farm safety. I was never forced to go outside and do chores, in fact, I would usually beg to go outside and help. At a very young age I learned what was safe and what was dangerous. I learned a work ethic and responsibility that I could not have learned anywhere else.
It is these early learnings from my parents that have given me the opportunity and will to continue farming and I plan to share those same qualities with my children. If this rule is passed, it will eliminate the opportunity for my children to work side by side with me. Why should my children, nieces and nephews, or high school kids not have the opportunity to work at our farm? I personally teach them animal care, how to work with and around equipment, and how to be safe.
I suppose having all kids get a job at McDonald’s is a safer option? What if they burn themself on a hot grill?
4-H and FFA have been an integral part of my upbringing along with a great leadership program that gives students opportunities to grow and succeed. Our high school has a very strong FFA program. These students are good students with the will to be successful. If this rule passed, these students will no longer be able to work with livestock, can’t dairy judge, can’t walk their cow around on a halter that they’ve worked with since the animal was a baby. This rule makes no sense and was written by people that have never been on a farm nor seen the success of people that have worked on a farm. I know how to work around animals, I know how to be safe and I know how to teach not only my children, but nieces and nephews and employees farm safety. Accidents happen anywhere anytime, not just on farms, but in people’s houses, in the car, anywhere. Don’t make a rule that involves no common sense!
Please send your comments to the Department of Labor on how this rule could affect you and your family. Comments due by December 1, 2011.