Local farm advocates in Iowa are concerned a new set of child-labor laws would inadvertently restrict the number of future farmers and place unnecessary restrictions on family farms.
According to The Daily Iowan, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new set of rules in 2011 that prohibit children under the age of 16 from working in manure pits or with certain animals unless their parents completely own the farm. However, many smaller farms in Iowa are multigenerational, Russ Meade, president of the Johnson County Farm Bureau told The Iowan. “We have a diverse makeup of smaller farms that rely heavily on extended family involvement,” Meade said. “[The regulations] would significantly restrict kids’ ability to participate.” Iowa farmer Kurt Dallmeyer said the rules could impact the number of children interested in farming, putting local farms at risk in the future and increasing the trend of factory farms in the state.