In a late Thursday press release, the US Department of Labor announced that it was dropping proposed regulations of family farms related to children working on the farm. From the announcement:
"the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations.
"The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.
"Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices."
This story, developing since 2011, and today's development demonstrates several important lessons:
- The overreaching federal government will try to regulate almost anything to the benefit of their large corporate clients, who seek domination of their marketplace by shutting down smaller competitors. In this case, they were trying to regulate and be more able to destroy one of the most basic relationships and forms of work in human existence – that of children working with their parents in the production of food.
- An oppressive government bureaucracy, especially one as unaccountable and unresponsive as the federal executive agencies, will only expand and use their power to the extent that the people allow them to. They will push until they feel enough resistance, and then will back off.
- This struggle for liberty and the freedom to work with our children and produce food is a long road. It is a long war, in which there are many battles. In this battle, the aggressor once again made a strong thrust into the heart of the American way of life, attempting to gain a tight grip on the aorta of productive American family farms, with which they cold later squeeze at will to weaken and eventually kill the heart of family farming forever. They have failed this time, but they will be back to try again.
In fact, they will likely try tomorrow – some small farmer somewhere in American will undoubtedly receive a visit tomorrow by an FDA or USDA bureaucrat, seeking to dictate to them how they must raise their animals or grow their produce, all in the name of "public safety". It is in these small skirmishes that the battle must be joined and met with the force of numbers.
If you care about true food and the liberty to grow it, or want the ability to be able to choose whom you buy it from, then you need to connect with other likeminded Americans in your local area and be ready to rush to their aid when they are the next victim of this growing food police state. We need to remember that our forebearers faced this same type of tyranny in different ways, and we should be ready to resurrect their immortal words from the Declaration of Independence and bring them to the fore when the next battle erupts and the food police ask what objection we have to their intrusion in our farming affairs:
[You have] erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.