Citing concerns raised in “thousands of comments,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced on April 26 that it is withdrawing its proposed rule regarding youth in agriculture. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President J.D. Alexander commended the administration’s action and said farmers and ranchers made their voices heard on the proposed rule, which could have restricted, and in some instances totally prevented, America’s youth from working on farms and ranches.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association was among those that submitted comments to DOL objecting the proposed rule. “This is a victory for farm and ranch families in Iowa and throughout the country. This rule would have prevented the next generation of Iowa farmers from acquiring the skills and passion for working in the beef business. It also would have restricted non-farm kids from working on farms and acquiring a solid worth ethic and enthusiasm for this industry,” said Matt Deppe, ICA CEO.

“Rules and regulations, including those related to our farm youth, need to ensure safe working conditions. But the original proposal simply went too far. Cattlemen’s voices were heard,” he said.

NCBA’s Alexander said “We absolutely have to have a sensible regulatory environment in Washington, D.C. We should not have to worry about negligent rules being promulgated by out-of-touch regulatory agencies.”

Alexander said this is not the first time the administration has proposed rules impacting agriculture before fully evaluating the consequences of the regulations. He said agency officials should reach out to farmers and ranchers prior to proposing a rule that could jeopardize the future of their profession. “Rather than strapping our hands behind our backs and preventing American youth from learning the ropes of food and fiber production, the administration should work with farmers and ranchers to ensure the rules on the books are workable,” Alexander said.

Alexander said the administration’s action to withdraw the rule showcases the importance of farm and ranch families being engaged in decisions being made inside the Beltway. He said NCBA will work with the beef community, regulatory agencies and policymakers to ensure a similar rule does not resurface in the future.