Requiem For a Story

April 27, 2012

Every journalist understands it. You have a great story with a unique angle. You do the research, score the right interviews, organize and write it just so. You send off a message to the editor and say “It’s just about ready.”

Then it dies. The reason for the very existence of it disappears. All that work and excitement for nothing.

The Department of Labor had given the media a slow pitch softball of a story when it announced that it was about to pass a new set of regulations. These rules, aimed at family farms, would eliminate almost any farm chore that can be imagined. Additionally, they would make illegal most activities connected with the Future Farmers of America and 4H. The Department of Labor even wanted to replace the courses in agriculture offered by local 4H groups with a 90 hour federal class. 

Somewhere, someone looked at these rules and decided that this could wreck certain political havoc. A Los Angeles native Department of Labor chief telling farmers how to do their jobs and raise their children? Not a chance in Nebraska that this would survive voiding Congressional legislation.

So they did the right thing, at least politically, and rescinded the rules. But, one thing we know about this Administration and the Left is that no effort to extend government control truly dies.

So farmers, stay tuned…

Below is an excerpt from the story:

The Daily Caller reports that Labor Secretary Hilda Solis of Los Angeles, California, is determined to impose strict regulations on work done by children on family farms.  Teams of federal inspectors would be empowered to issue citations to violators of the “vague and meddlesome” regulations. 

Small farmers, who often rely heavily upon family support, add $6.8 billion per year to the West Virginia economy.  The West Virginia University Extension Service touts the ability of this economic niche to expand its market.  Unless federal regulations stifle initiative.

Supporters cite safety concerns, but United States Department of Agriculture statistics cited by the Daily Caller show that farm accidents among youth dropped by 40 percent between 2001 and 2009.  Delegate Darryl Cowles (R-51), who grew up working on neighbors’ farms, represents parts of Hampshire and Morgan counties.  He sees larger issues than safety. “Farming can be dangerous, but this is about control and power by the government over family farms.”

Cowles also noted that, “the rules laid down by the Obama Administration’s Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are completely unmanageable. For example, teens would no longer be allowed to run a riding mower, fix a fence, stack hay, unload a truck, or drive a tractor.”  The Daily Caller noted that children would not even be permitted to use automatic screwdrivers.

The farming community relies heavily upon organizations such as Future Farmers of America and 4 H.  Hands on projects required as part of FFA’s educational programs would become largely illegal under the proposed federal laws.  Department of Labor officials also wish to replace training by FFA, 4 H, and farm owners themselves with a mandated 90 hour federal course.  This could threaten the existence of these programs.



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