Proposed Child Labor Law Changes Are Getting Cold Shoulder Down On The Farm

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 21, 2011 Updated Dec 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Hundreds of Northeast Indiana farming operations could be impacted by proposed changes to the Child Labor Act that would curtail the activities of children in the agriculture industry.

Since the founding of this nation, kids have gotten their hands dirty on farms, often making contributions to the workload that are indispensable.

The Obama Administration wants to regulate what kids can do in the ag business, under the guise of enhancing safety.

Government studies have shown that kids are more than three times as likely to die working in agriculture than they are in any other part of the economy.

Huntington County farmer Jason Dennis scoffs at proposals to restrict a child's right to operate tractors, combines and other machinery.

He says new technology makes those pieces of equipment safer than ever before.

Dennis thinks the government should mind its own business.

Jason Dennis/Farmer: " It doesn't make sense in the farming community. It's been years of family farms that have done this. Their children come into it, they teach them the right and wrong."

Gonzalee Martin/Allen County Ag Agent: " Agriculture is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States, so child safety is very important. These rules and regulations that are in place now, they haven't been looked at in over 40 years."

Gonzalee Martin says he understands the anxiety of farmers, but he believes many are over-reacting.

He says most of the rules changes will not impact kids working on their parents' farms.

He concedes enforcement, in general, will be tough to carry out.

The reform movement can be traced to California, where young children of migrant workers were allegedly being taken advantage of.

What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "QUESTION OF THE DAY” comment.

© Copyright 2016, A Quincy Media broadcasting station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.