Governor Terry Branstad and state Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey have asked the U.S. Department of Labor to extend the comment period on new regulations covering kids who work on farms. Northey says the rules were apparently designed to deal with migrant kids working with their parents, but he says they can impact farms that are family-owned.
Northey says it looks like if the farm is owned by uncles, brothers and multiple family members, the rules would apply to them and the kids would not be able to work on the farms until they reach age 16. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said recently the rules are not meant to apply to kids who work on a farm owned by their parents. Northey agrees those farms are exempt.
He says there is clearly an exemption for solely owned family and there appears to be an exemption soley-owned family farm corporations, but he says it doesn’t appear that there is an exemption for farms that are owned by more than one person, even if they are all family members. Northey says he asked along with the governor, that the comment period be extended.
Northey says the comment period happened right during the harvest, and some farmers in Iowa and other parts of the country are just finding out about them. He says extending the comment period by 45 days would ensure that everyone is allowed to give their input. The extension would push the comment period into January.