This is not an endorsement for a specific political party or individual in government. This post is simply my personal reaction to a recently proposed rule, and later withdrawn, regarding child labor in agriculture. These are my thoughts, tell me yours ……. comments, reactions, and thoughts are welcome.
Dear President Obama and your administration,
I would like to personally thank you for recently withdrawing the proposed rule dealing with youth working in agriculture vocations. I am the proud daughter of a Kentucky coal miner and farmer. My husband is the son and grandson of long-time Texas ranchers. We consider it a privilege to be from rural areas where hard work, generosity, and respect for man and nature are valued.
It is with great relief that the Obama administration respects the way of life in rural communities and has decided to abandoned its attempt to interfere with family farming operations, specifically the importance of passing on traditions to future generations.
I fondly remember the countless hours spent on equipment in the fields, repairing implements in the shop, working in tobacco, raising livestock, and, finally, sharing the fruits of our labors with neighbors, friends, relatives, and others within our community.
With my limited life experience and perspective, it would be unfair and disrespectful for me to tell another person how to live, how to raise their child(ren), or how to provide for their basic needs. And, I cannot claim agriculture as the means in which my husband and I support ourselves, because, well, it is not. But, agriculture and the rural way of life is who I am. It is the legacy in which my parents and grandparents raised me. It is the life that I am grateful to have and, God willing, something I will share with my child(ren) someday.
I know many who rely on agriculture and consider it their sole source of income. The thought of restricting anyone under the age of 18 from participating in the work required on a farming operation is disheartening. Please, introduce me to a farmer or agricultural worker who began their successful operation after 18. To me, that’s ludicrous.
Small farming operations require attention and man-power at all hours of the day and night to function and, at minimum, break even on the finance sheets. The future of family farms rests upon the shoulders of men and women who rise before dawn to plow fields, raise livestock, and pass their heritage to the next generation. The preservation of rural America’s livelihood begins at an early age, it’s NOT something a young person learns by reading a textbook. With that being said, as farming practices advance with technology, it is increasingly important for future generations to have a thorough education. I know many individuals who earned significant personal, professional, and financial rewards by working in agriculture. Some, if not most, paid for their college education by working on a small, rural family farm. And, all of them began working before turning 18.
I appreciate my democratic and representative government of the United States
of America listening, and positively reacting, to the discontent of this proposed rule. In addition, I fully support the effort to build relationships with rural stakeholders and national organizations (i.e Future Farmers of America and
4-H) and encourage youth activities in agricultural, as well as the
development of educational programs to reduce accidents and promote safer agricultural practices.
These are my thoughts, tell me yours.