Meat&Poultry - April 2012 - (Page 20)

Washington BY BERNARD SHIRE Family farm labor pains There have always been restrictions on the type of work children below a certain age can do when working on farms or at meat processing plants, especially when the operation is small and family owned. New regulations proposed by the US Dept. of Labor would add restrictions to what work children can do on the family farm, or at small, family owned meat processing companies. Anything DOL views as “hazardous” would be banned. The new restrictions, among other things, would keep children aged 16 and below away from the riskiest work, including driving tractors or doing work at the top of tall ladders. These proposals would limit greatly the kind of work children could do in agriculture, and would keep kids safer, proponents say. Opponents of the new rules say they would hurt family farms and meat- and poultry-processing businesses, and to a great degree, end, including cousins and relatives who are not children of the establishment’s owners. Originally, it seemed the new, stricter regulations would apply to what are generally called “family farms.” But it soon became apparent these regs would also apply to meat-processing plants – generally, the smaller ones where youngsters might be working, as well as even corporate farms and facilities. Of course, there are restrictions right now on youngsters doing this kind of work – they’ve been in effect for more than 30 years – but they tend to be enforced pretty much by farmers and plant owners themselves. Tasks tend to be assigned by adults to kids that are appropriate to their skills and their ages. These new regulations would change that, possibly replacing common sense with bureaucratic rules that might not always be appropriate, but would have be followed at all times, with no exceptions. Opponents of the New regulations proposed by the US Dept. of Labor would add restrictions to what children can do on the family farm. The government describes new proposed regulations involving kids and agriculture as efforts to increase their safety. But farmers, including those who raise cattle for slaughter, and small meat-processing companies, some of which raise their own cattle and then slaughter and process them, describe the new regulations as an attack on the rural way of life by the 98 percent of Americans who aren’t involved in agriculture but depend on farms and food processors for what they eat. changing agricultural life in the US as we’ve known it for a long time. Youth would also be barred from working with animals, including raising them, or doing any work involving storage bins, product raw materials or be allowed to handle pesticides. They also couldn’t work in stockyards, feedlots or livestock auctions. While the rulemaking would include an exception for kids working for their parents on a “family farm,” this exception could stop a lot of kids from coming to do work on the week- new regulations say very few youths under the age of 16 perform hazardous work on farms or processing facilities. Back to the drawing board One major objection to the new rules is they would have prevented youth under the age of 18 from working directly with livestock. Another major objection is banning youth from working on farms or processing facilities owned by relatives or that are incorporated. Today, a lot of agricultural businesses, even smaller ones, are not owned by a single family, but by a number of family members, and even people outside the immediate family. 20 • Meat&Poultry • April 2012 •

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - April 2012

Meat&Poultry - April 2012
Table of Contents
Commentary - Assassinating effective technology
Business Notes - LFTB fallout continues
Business Notes - Thompson to CEO of McDonald’s
Business Notes - Introducing: NAMA
Business Notes - Group to acquire Burger King restaurants
Business Notes - JBS may leave Argentina
Business Notes - JBS Q4 earnings advance despite Pilgrim’s Pride loss
Business Notes - Tyson addresses its strategy and stance on LFTB
Washington - Family farm labor pains
Cover Story - Team builder
Food Safety - Full speed ahead
CEO Series - Executive experience
Ground Beef - Burger nirvana
Meat Processing - Operations & Engineering
Flooring - Building a solid foundation
Contract Sanitation - Focus on plant sanitation
Sanitation Tips (Consejos de Sanidad) - Cleaning compounds
Sanitation Tips - Be cautious with chemicals
Packaging Solutions - Sandwich success
Ingredient Issues - ‘Real food’ nutrition
Ingredient Trends - Tracking global ingredient trends
Small Business Matters - Remote possibilities
Leadership Development - Creating future leaders
From the Corral - On-farm handling
Labor - Balancing and bargaining act
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - April 2012