Tester successful in blocking child farm labor rule changes

Senate’s only active farmer has long opposed Labor Dept. proposal

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Labor Department today recognized Senator Jon Tester’s work in convincing the agency to withdraw its controversial plan to restrict Montana’s youth from safely working on farms and ranches.

The Labor Department told Tester they will no longer pursue rules limiting youth involvement on farms and ranches.

Last fall, the Labor Department announced proposed restrictions that would limit the work teens could do on farms and ranches owned by anyone other than their parents.

Tester, the Senate’s only active farmer, made sure Montana farmers and ranchers had a chance to voice their concerns before he called on the Department to drop the proposed restrictions altogether.  He also introduced the bipartisan Preserving America’s Family Farms Act with Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) to prevent the new rules from going into effect.

Tester also spoke from the floor of the U.S. Senate urging the Labor Department to withdraw its proposal saying “the skills young people learn from working on a family farm translate into a healthy work ethic that will serve them their entire lives.”

“Today’s announcement comes as welcome news to Montana family farmers and ranchers and to Montana kids who, like me, have a strong passion for agriculture,” Tester said.  “The future of Montana agriculture will not be set back by these rules.”

Tester, who grew up baling hay and "picking rocks" on his family’s farm, noted that while it’s important to keep our young people safe, it’s essential to expose them to valuable opportunities that develop a deep and long-lasting respect for work.

The Labor Department’s letter to Senator Tester is available below or online HERE.