Tester's bill blocks proposal to restrict young agriculture workers

Senate's only active farmer has long opposed proposed Labor Dept. rule

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Senate's only active farmer is pushing a bipartisan plan to block the Labor Department from unnecessarily restricting young people who work on farms and ranches.

Jon Tester's bipartisan bill prevents the Department of Labor from enacting proposed rules that restrict how teens can work in agriculture.

In September, 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’s Preserving America’s Family Farms Act, introduced with Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), prevents those new rules from going into effect.

“Montana is a world leader in agriculture because our farmers and ranchers learn the values of responsible, safe work at an early age,” said Tester, who still farms on the same land homesteaded by his grandparents a century ago.  “I will fight any measure that threatens that heritage and our rural way of life.” 

Last month, Tester 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.”

Tester has been an outspoken critic of the Labor Department’s proposed restrictions since they were first introduced.  Last fall, he successfully urged the Labor Department to extend its public comment period so that Montana farmers and ranchers could give their input.

Tester’s Preserving America’s Family Farms Act is available online HERE.