WASHINGTON (April 26, 2012) – National Farmers Union (NFU) issued the following statement after today’s announcement by the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding its withdrawal of a proposed rule dealing with children who work in agricultural vocations:
“NFU is glad to see the DOL and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) continued commitment to the safety of children, particularly on farms, which can be dangerous work environments.
“Farm safety is important to everyone involved in agriculture. In a recent report issued by USDA, workers under age 20 experienced 3,191 nonfatal injuries on farms in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, down 36 percent from 4,964 injuries in 2006. While this is a downward trend, the reality is that even one on-farm injury is one too many.
“While NFU supported elements of the proposed rule, education is a positive approach to this issue and we are committed to working with the DOL and USDA to develop educational programs to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”
Very disappointed the NFU would support a policy (or lack of policy) that disregards the well-being of children and that benefits Big Agriculture over small family farms. Yes, education is important, but exploitation has nothing to do with education.