Not long ago at church, a grown-up asked Adam Mershon, 11, if he planned on being a farmer like his dad, granddad and great-granddad.

“I already am a farmer,” he replied.

For about as long as Adam can remember, he has been feeding cattle with his cousins on Grandpa Tom’s farm near Buckner.

He’s been fixing fences. Delivering calves, up to his elbows. Years back, he’d climb on his father’s lap to steer the tractor.

The Mershons call it a lifestyle they’d never trade.

The federal government calls it child labor that ought to be restricted.

If recent proposals from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) become law, Adam may have to wait five years before he can be paid to drive a tractor, climb up a ladder or perform other farm jobs deemed hazardous.

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