Tester gets Labor Department to drop child farm labor rule

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

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today announced that the Labor Department is dropping plans to unnecessarily restrict young people from working on farms and ranches.

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, the Senate’s only farmer, quickly called on the Labor Department to reconsider the proposal, saying “I will fight any measure that threatens that heritage and our rural way of life.”  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.

“Montana is a world leader in agriculture because our farmers learn the values of responsible, safe work at an early age,” Tester said. “I appreciate the Department of Labor listening to my concerns and those of hard-working Montana farmers and dropping these rules so we can continue our way of life and keep feeding America.”

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.”

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.