Dec 14, 2011
Child agriculture labor revisions draw criticism

Farm advocates and several lawmakers in the state are worried new federal changes to child labor laws will prevent minors from fully working on farms.

This past year, there have been several attempts to change child labor laws in Wisconsin, specifically relating to youths working in the farming industry, said Casey Langan, spokesperson for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

The Department of Labor said at the heart of child workers’ rights is the intention to create a safe working environment and give children enough time to go to school.

The proposed changes would not affect any kids who work on their parents’ farms. However, the proposed revision would require 14- and 15-year-olds to receive special training and certification before they are allowed to do a number of tasks on other people’s farms including handling baby animals, heavy machinery and band saws, according to the Department of Labor.

With 78,000 farms in Wisconsin in 2010, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website, stricter child labor laws could have an outstanding negative effect on Wisconsin’s farming industry, Langan said. The Badger Herald

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