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Department of Labor changes its mind about farm regs.
REVERSING COURSE is not something the USS Uncle Sam does easily. But the Department of Labor is turning around on proposed rules for kids who work on farms, and that's a smart move.
About six months ago the department proposed new regulations that would greatly restrict underage farm labor. The children of farmers could still work around the old homestead (unless it was incorporated), but not for any other relative or the guy down the road.
What's more, the department, which apparently would prefer to keep kids bubble-wrapped, was nixing all kinds of normal juvenile farm activities, including using power equipment (e.g., tractors), working in a dairy milking parlor, dealing with uncastrated animals, helping with anything that might hurt a beast (like vaccinations or dehorning), and even herding animals on horseback. (Adieu, buckaroos!)
The rules would have hobbled farm life. Corn farmers, for example, employ lots of neighborhood kids during de-tasseling season but would have been blocked by the regs, which drew catcalls from every variety of Mr. Green Jeans. They also prompted derision from Republicans, who were quick to point out that the bureaucrats who drafted the rules know as much about farm life as a hog does Sunday.
Last week, the Obama administration announced it was dropping the rule changes. Some good comes from elections, at least before they occur.