Wisconsin underaged farm kids may get new protections


Off-Topic Discussions

Liberty's Edge

From my local paper so you know it's veracious as hell.

Another attack on the bottom line of an industry already deformed by overregulation and big farm expansion, or a necessary change to protect young workers?

My dad read this article, and he could name someone he knew who had died (while doing something prohibited under this law) for each of the activities listed. Most of what I know about farm life comes from his 1960s-1980s-era experience. Farm work is dangerous, but this law could drive the last small family farms out of business.

Every 3.5 days in the US a kid dies while on an agricultural work site. I didn't know we even had that many kids.


Gark the Goblin wrote:

From my local paper so you know it's veracious as hell.

Another attack on the bottom line of an industry already deformed by overregulation and big farm expansion, or a necessary change to protect young workers?

My dad read this article, and he could name someone he knew who had died (while doing something prohibited under this law) for each of the activities listed. Most of what I know about farm life comes from his 1960s-1980s-era experience. Farm work is dangerous, but this law could drive the last small family farms out of business.

Every 3.5 days in the US a kid dies while on an agricultural work site. I didn't know we even had that many kids.

I think it's the former. In my experience most people evaluate the concept of child labor laws by thinking the intent is valuable, and stopping there. But some of these regulations cost money and opportuntiy. It's my belief that it also costs us a certain level of toughness, and we lose respect for the industry.

Of course, I am not saying we should abandon all child labor law, but we are at a point where discretion is taken out of the hands of milions of well[meaning employers and very capable kids. Some of my best employees ever have had to go home hours before they wanted, losing money and experience because someone else told them they weren't capable of working safely and keeping their focus on school and family.


Whereas I'd say the latter. Child labor is abused on both family and factory farms, to the detriment of the children as students, and serves to perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

I went to a grade school that was surrounded by farm land and some of my fellow students lived on farms. One specifically, whom I won't mention by name, got up as early as 4:30 every morning to milk cows and feed chickens. By the time she got to school she'd been awake 4 hours and done 2 hours of work. You can't expect children to perform at their best under those conditions. She usually had an hour or two of chores after school as well.

If you've been up for 14 hours already, and your body is telling you you should get 8-10 hours of sleep, do you sleep or do homework? At what age? 8? 10? 12?

I'm not saying there's nothing to be said for instilling a solid work ethic in children, but education is one of the best tools we have as a society to help people break a generational cycle of poverty. At least during the school year, erosion of child labor laws hurts that.

I know my experiences might not be directly related, but that's my 2cp. Most of this stuff taking effect in Wisconsin is for the sake of protecting them from physically dangerous activities, which I can't even imagine being against. "Let the 8 year old try to fix the grain thresher, he has smaller hands" doesn't seem a wise policy. Milking cows? Sure. Trying to shoe a horse? Nay!

Liberty's Edge

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Ok, AS, which of these proposals, taken from the article, do you think should be allowed?

OP article wrote:

• Anyone under age 16 could not operate any power-driven machines unless the child was under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

• Youngsters would be prohibited from handling noncastrated livestock older than 6 months, sows with suckling pigs or cows with a newborn calf. They also could not be in situations where an animal’s behavior might be unpredictable, such as giving shots, dehorning or breeding.

• Youngsters would not be allowed to work inside any grain silo, fruit or forage storage bin, nor would they be allowed to handle pesticides. Also, they would not be allowed to work at heights above 6 feet from a floor, including working on ladders.

• The new regulations would prohibit teenagers from talking on cellphones or texting while operating a tractor.

I'm amazed these aren't already outlawed.


Indeed. I think you're starting to sound a bit more zealously anti regulatory than you truly are, AS.


Actually, I think a common mistake (on both sides) of our country's political dialogue is the tendency to exclude the middle. Refusing to tax capital gains at a higher rate does not mean Republicans want people living under bridges. Asking public teachers and government desk drivers to pay for 10% of their retirement pension is not pro-management screw the little guy hard. In this case, not wanting to see government telling a 15-year-old kid he can't operate a tractor in a remote field is not the same thing as 8-year-olds everywhere being eaten by rabid sheep while careless parents crack a whip over the farm.

I am not sure I believe any of the rules listed above are necessary. Texting while driving a tractor in a straight line downa remote field is nto the same as me texting numbers to my boss on the way home, which is then not the same as a hysterical girl texting about how her boyfriend dumped her on a busy highway. Using blanket rules for such things hurts businesses and taxpayers unnecessarily.

Government has to spend money to bother with a rule about teenagers texting in tractors. Would we spend even a dime on enforcement of that? Surely we wouldn't have OSHA inspectors traveling Iowa farms looking to ticket texters in order to save lives. The smart solution is to let people live life and deal with consequences.

Now, there are versions of these rules that make sense to me. Any kid without a permit shoudln't be able to operate power-driven machinery. But under 16? Why not require the permit (maybe for free), but not attach a certain age to it. Parents will know if their kid can drive a tractor. If he's 14, but 5-8 and handles himself well, why not? Test him (or whatever, make it as inexpensive as possible for the farm family and the taxpayer) and let it go. You can't look at a half-dozen deaths over however many years and declare it some kind of national emergency that we end farm labor. Let parents, owners and kids decide a few things. We're too caught up in how we can prevent something awful from happening to everyone that barely happens to anyone.

Now,this is the libertarian in me speaking, but I am by no means a pure libertarian. If you can show me that kids are in terrible, verifiable danger from some of these things, maybe I can change my tune. Specifics can modify anything (assuming they are real and not manipulated to justify meddling and control), but in principle, we should be handing out fewer restrictions than more.

And of course, there's unintended consequences to consider. Need for more adult farm hands means increased costs for food producers. We have enough of grocery prices going up, right? Denying kids work increases generational poverty, not teaching them to work the family farm. Denying family farms resources to keep costs low also increases generational poverty. Learning the value of work and the direct correlation between effort and reward is the natural enemy of poverty.

And, I do not commit to any response to Meatrace given his tone with me the last couple of threads we bumped heads on, but I'd need to see credible information that promises death for kids and exacerbated poverty if we don't make big changes. I've done some reading on child labor, have ben a manager of different industries, and know several farmers across three states. I see less poverty and little carelessness among careful managers,parents and kids who want to work.


The changes in regulations don't apply to kids doing chores on their family's farm. (With a possible exception if their family farm is actually structured as a corporation.) They apply primarily to hiring children to work on other people's farms, which have long been exempt from many of the child labor laws.
Is there something magic about farms, (family, factory or other) that makes them wonderful, safe places for kids to work?

Ancient Sensei wrote:
And of course, there's unintended consequences to consider. Need for more adult farm hands means increased costs for food producers. We have enough of grocery prices going up, right? Denying kids work increases generational poverty, not teaching them to work the family farm. Denying family farms resources to keep costs low also increases generational poverty. Learning the value of work and the direct correlation between effort and reward is the natural enemy of poverty.

Wouldn't this apply to any industry? Cheap child labor brings prices down. Kids working in the factories learn the value of work.

Of course, some kids will get hurt. Some will have less time for school. Some parents will lose their jobs because child labor is cheaper. But none of those increase generational poverty.


When you start talking towards the middle, I'm sure people will respond in kind. Your post before this last makes you sound like a villain straight out of oliver Twist, however.


Why do you get your kid a cellphone if they are going to text while operating a machine with it.
I also think they should be doing homework.

If you want to help the family farm enforce the antitrust laws on corporate farms.


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I thought the title of this thread was "Wisconson Undead Farm Kids..."

Ah, the hazards of posting about politics in a gamer forum.


Treppa wrote:
I thought the title of this thread was "Wisconson Undead Farm Kids..."

{shambles in looking for Aberzombie} "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeze..." {pauses to readjust orange triangular foam wedge hat}


I'd like to point out AS that these 6 months old operating the thresher are NOT being paid more often than not. They're just 'chores'. And, yes, demonstrably working 4+ hours a day makes you worse with school work which does contribute to a cycle of generational poverty.

Also, did you not read the part where 2 kids a week are KILLED doing these precise activities? Does that qualify as a verifiable danger?

As to your comment about letting people do what they're going to do and just dealing with the consequences: okay I'll bite, how about some socialized medicine up in here?!


Hmmm, now I want a module that involves resolves settling an undead farmworkers' strike in Geb, who are striking for union representation and better working conditions.


Zombie Pizza Delivery Girl wrote:
Hmmm, now I want a module that involves resolves settling an undead farmworkers' strike in Geb, who are striking for union representation and better working conditions.

Although if the pcs side with the farmworkers it could be an interesting adventure as well.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If an industry cannot survive in its current form without chucking a kid headfirst into a combine every 3 days then perhaps that industry needs to change form.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
If an industry cannot survive in its current form without chucking a kid headfirst into a combine every 3 days then perhaps that industry needs to change form.

Say goodbye to Armor Hotdogs!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013

And here we go again. Exclude the middle, turn the whole conversation into 'chucking kids into the combine' twice a week, and suddenly details and principles don't matter anymore.

@ thejeff (whom I note is less snarky than some fo the others): The article addresses child labor laws, and yet uses several examples of kids working on their own familiy farms. Would we rather have more regulations for chores or for paid employment? I just think we have to tread carefully when we, in a miserable economy, start talking about how to make things harder for industry. Sometimes, government regulations ("we're going to put sensors to read bar codes for new license tags to catch more people without insurance") make things harder for the exact dynamic you want to improve ("Insurance companies raise prices because of increased demand so fewer people can afford the insurance"). We wouldn't want increased oversight of family or community farms to result in more risk-taking, bribing, etc.

And certainly, I agree that any business you could plug in has associated risks and a need for balanced regulation. But I mean actual balanced - allowing people to actually absorb some responsibility for their decisions. I don't mean consistent creep of government power resulting in graft and nonsense rules that eliminate judgment calls at the lower levels.

@Freehold: sometimes I agree with your posts in principle. But wanting the governemnt to be limited in its control of commerce and our personal lives is hardly reminiscent of a villain straight out of Oliver Twist. Don't you think maybe you see that because you choose to? Does it not seem clear that what I want is for reasonable to be allowed to behave reasonably?

I think when you start looking at increasing govenrment solutions to problems perceived in dry statistics, you begin to bleach the people out. However many kids get killed nationwide on farms is not as important as how they died, whether those deaths could have been rpevented, whether there was some kind of negligence involved, etc. Our first thought ought to be "Well, those are sad stories when we get down to it, but is this really a government problem? Could those deaths have been prevented byu a regulation? Did the parents just not love their kids and force them to load tree shredders at 8 years old? We're letting an article show us a single indicator and letting outrage replace reason. Might be the number of deaths per year on farms is very low. The article itself mention that in recent years (how many? a significant number?), average death are down. And if that's true, is one death every 3.5 days an old statistic? Over what period of time?
We are not evaluating useful information, we are getting into a tizzy - even calling people villains - over a very small amount of information. And that lack of detail allows bureaucrats to get in and screw things up. "We're doing it for the childdren. And because total control keeps us in total control."

So nah. Knowing me, I don't see myself as much of a villain. If you find yourself thinking that, you oughtta consider whether you default to that opinion.

4+ hours of work per day does not contribute to poverty. There's not any evidence that say so. Anecdotally, my best workers have also been good students when they choose to be, and terrible students when they choose to be. Principally, working a regular schedule can teach some organization, responsiblity, self-reliance, and develop skills that move a person forward in life, which, once again, is the opposite of poverty-making. Abslutely, someone who values cool stuff and works too many hours can fail at school. Like all other things, that's that person's choice (and the choice of the parents). I've had parents quit their kids' jobs cause they sucked at school. I've had kids do better in school cause their mindset changed to something more reponsible and less entitled.

I am not sure what the socialized medicine comment has to do with people dealing with consequences of decisions. First, I still think that comment was intentionally received poorly - I did not say "Serves 'em right if they git run over.". Secondly, having good health habits and buying your own health insurance is about decisionmaking and consequences. Medicaid is about the rest of us dealing with someone else's consequences.

Keeping governemnt out of farm employment creep isn't about letting kids fall headlong into combines. You'd think there'd already be ways to handle such a thing (can someone show me a law where it's okay for a preteen to be allowed to fall into a combine?).


meatrace wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
If an industry cannot survive in its current form without chucking a kid headfirst into a combine every 3 days then perhaps that industry needs to change form.
Say goodbye to Armor Hotdogs!

But I thought all kinds of kids loved Armor Hotdogs?!


Freehold DM wrote:
meatrace wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
If an industry cannot survive in its current form without chucking a kid headfirst into a combine every 3 days then perhaps that industry needs to change form.
Say goodbye to Armor Hotdogs!
But I thought all kinds of kids loved Armor Hotdogs?!

I've never really liked hot dogs, but I do like cheese coneys with onions. Kid free.


Steven T. Helt wrote:

@ thejeff (whom I note is less snarky than some fo the others): The article addresses child labor laws, and yet uses several examples of kids working on their own familiy farms. Would we rather have more regulations for chores or for paid employment? I just think we have to tread carefully when we, in a miserable economy, start talking about how to make things harder for industry. Sometimes, government regulations ("we're going to put sensors to read bar codes for new license tags to catch more people without insurance") make things harder for the exact dynamic you want to improve ("Insurance companies raise prices because of increased demand so fewer people can afford the insurance"). We wouldn't want increased oversight of family or community farms to result in more risk-taking, bribing, etc.

And certainly, I agree that any business you could plug in has associated risks and a need for balanced regulation. But I mean actual balanced - allowing people to actually absorb some responsibility for their decisions. I don't mean consistent creep of government power resulting in graft and nonsense rules that eliminate judgment calls at the lower levels.

Original Article wrote:
Children who work on their parents’ farms are exempt from child labor laws, and they would remain exempt under the proposed regulation changes. They can perform any tasks, even dangerous ones, at any age on a farm owned or operated by a parent, according to the Department of Labor.

It seems pretty clear to me that it's aimed at employees, not kids feeding the family chickens or whatever.

It does also note that family farms that are legally structured as corporations may be included. If that could be changed without leaving it wide open for any corporate farm to employ child labor, what would you think? You can have your own kids do chores, you can't use outside child labor to run your farm.

On the larger question though, what is so special about farms? Why is it legal for young children to work on farms but not in other jobs? All the arguments you make are valid for children working anywhere. Factories, retail, whatever. They learn routine and discipline. Why should farm labor be exempted from the same laws that govern other child jobs? Or why shouldn't other industries have the same ability to hire children?

You said you've employed students. How old were they? What field are you in? Or what were you hiring them to do? It may not be directly comparable. Farm labor can usually be done at a much younger age and with less restrictions on dangerous tasks.


Steven T. Helt wrote:
4+ hours of work per day does not contribute to poverty. There's not any evidence that say so. Anecdotally, my best workers have also been good students when they choose to be, and terrible students when they choose to be. Principally, working a regular schedule can teach some organization, responsiblity, self-reliance, and develop skills that move a person forward in life, which, once again, is the opposite of poverty-making. Abslutely, someone who values cool stuff and works too many hours can fail at school. Like all other things, that's that person's choice (and the choice of the parents). I've had parents quit their kids' jobs cause they sucked at school. I've had kids do better in school cause their mindset changed to something more reponsible and less entitled.

Ok. Do the math again. 2 hours of work before school, plus 8 hours of sleep, plus 7 hours of school, plus 3 hours of bus rides, plus 2 hours of work after school leaves how much for homework? Also, the best workers you have had were 9 year olds?

Ya know what? I'm done with you.

Liberty's Edge

Treppa wrote:

I thought the title of this thread was "Wisconson Undead Farm Kids..."

Ah, the hazards of posting about politics in a gamer forum.

. . . Hazards? You got to read an interesting thread whose first three posts were awesome! (Really, they were all like the exact same length and made me f*%~in elated all over.)

You know, I TRIED posting all these little happy threads (fall thread? man I liked that one), but no one bit. So I decided to try politics and HOPY S&~! I"M SCRLLING DOWN AND I CAN"T FIND THE END>

I will read all of this alleged "s#~$" in a bit (to be exact tomorrow due to f&!&in TEST in the morning). Sorry for spamming.

Okay one thing: No one the same age as my father when he was a farm worker died while texting or otherwise using a cell phone. Though I bet that sort of s@+# happens nowadays.


meatrace wrote:
Ya know what? I'm done with you.

Believe me, I am very satisfied with that outcome.

But to answer the assumptive reasoning for folk who are here to discuss the issue instead of pass judgement on people, the flaws in your post are really clear: all the assumptions about adding up hours and then working nine year olds to death are just assumptions made to push the argument a certain direction.

I've never had a nine year old work for me. Most farm assistance among kids are 12-15. More restrictive child labor laws protect all the way up to 18 in some states, and federal rules go to 17. So limiting the hours a kid works and what he can do hardly falls under 9-year-olds working 4 hours a day and getting 8 hours of sleep like androids. I wish you'd pay attention to the most important opbjection conservatives have to creeping government regulation: you take the people and responsibility out of the equation. Kids may not want 8 full hours of sleep if they can work a couple of hours. No one reading this is qualified to tell them they have to sleep a certain amount, ride the bus for 3 hours, etc. You are objecting to a hypothetical situation that probably exists for someone, but doesn't verifiably exist for anyone. This is why statistics are tools, but not actual knowledge.

Suppose a kid working a paper rout - done for generations now all over the country - only get 6 hours of sleep. You want to tell kids they can't get up before 6:30 so they get their full 8 hours in? They aren't robots. It's up to them and their parents to decide if they want to work 4-6 hours, or work on school nights or whatever. Big Brother should stay largely out of it. If the work is considered dangerous and something awful happens, we already have a legal mechanism for determining whether there was criminal negligence involved. Sometmes bad things just happen, and we shouldn't amke the mistake of thingking we can prevent everything. Good Lord, how did we ever make it this far without kids shoeing horses and riding bikes without helmets?

And the short answer to your hypothetical is 2. Still leaves 2 hours every day for homework.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

This article is awful. The title is meaningless. (What can farm kids do, indeed?) An essentially nobody speaker is tapped to offer her opinion on events before we're even told what the events are. We're told what this nobody speaker thinks the consequences of the events will be before we even know what the consequences of the events are! In fact, nowhere is there the simple declarative statement, "[Government agency X] is changing [regulation Y] to [dis]allow children of age [#] to perform certain tasks on [such-and-such] farms."

Eventually, we get a list of specifics of what the regulation changes will do, but even those are vague on which farms they apply to; there's some vagueness about whether the cut-off age is 16 or 18, and whether the rules apply to corporate farms, all farms, or non-family farms. Plus, this is posted on the 5th, but the article says that the comment period was extended to the 1st. What happened after that? Timely reporting! After that is a salad of statistics and random opinions, in no logical order and often with no meaningful context. People on the street are mixed with random authorities (of unspecified authority), random historic happenings are scattered about.

So whatever. Unless someone wants to find a non-terrible article or three on this subject (let alone do any real research), I really don't think this discussion is going anywhere.


@thejeff:

For a long time I would just flatly not hire anyone under 18 at my restaurants because keeping track of them was a hassle. But Tulsa got to about a 3% unemployment market not long after I moved here and so I hired a few 17s. One girl was 16 and I just turned her down, but then she gave me this speech. She needs money, she's helping her parents out, her grades are good but not great, and she'll bust her hump to keep her job and show me I was smart to listen to her.

So I suspect character and a good worker and I try it out. We never cheated on her hours (which some do, another reason the rules can be absurd), although sometimes she whined when I sent her home. SHe graduated school, didn't have moeny for college,and got a salaried job as assistant in the company. So at 18 she's making $26k with insurance and vacation time.Not great, but from there she can do anything. And $26k is a mint at 18 years.

There are other stories like her, I jsut point out she illustrates that people can handle child labor expectations responsibly. A review board doesn't assess responsibility, they ban things because someone complains. If we were gonna be a nation that prevented bad things from happening to everyone all the time (which we of course cannot), we should maybe amp up the regulations after our economy is stable. Adding weight to the cost of doing business in any way is unwise.

If you could show that of the 2 deaths a week, a significant number weren't 15, or that regulations could have prevented those deaths (suppose lightning strikes, earthquakes, stampedes and such are in those statistics. Have you seen how our government compiles information?), I'd be willing to hear more about changes. I'm not unwilling now, but onerous changes when the industry objects, and parents are being quoted regarding the work their kids do, I think are uncalled for. Sets the stage for the governemnt to move in somewhere else in order to justify a larger budget next year.

And I'd be willing to loosen some of the child labor laws we have in other industries, too. There's no reason a 17-year-old can't slice meat at a restaurant, or a 16-year-old can't work until 9. If they have good parents, the parents will comunicate rules. If they have crappy parents, they probably need the money.


Ancient Sensei wrote:

@thejeff:

For a long time I would just flatly not hire anyone under 18 at my restaurants because keeping track of them was a hassle. But Tulsa got to about a 3% unemployment market not long after I moved here and so I hired a few 17s. One girl was 16 and I just turned her down, but then she gave me this speech. She needs money, she's helping her parents out, her grades are good but not great, and she'll bust her hump to keep her job and show me I was smart to listen to her.

So I suspect character and a good worker and I try it out. We never cheated on her hours (which some do, another reason the rules can be absurd), although sometimes she whined when I sent her home. SHe graduated school, didn't have moeny for college,and got a salaried job as assistant in the company. So at 18 she's making $26k with insurance and vacation time.Not great, but from there she can do anything. And $26k is a mint at 18 years.

There are other stories like her, I jsut point out she illustrates that people can handle child labor expectations responsibly. A review board doesn't assess responsibility, they ban things because someone complains. If we were gonna be a nation that prevented bad things from happening to everyone all the time (which we of course cannot), we should maybe amp up the regulations after our economy is stable. Adding weight to the cost of doing business in any way is unwise.

If you could show that of the 2 deaths a week, a significant number weren't 15, or that regulations could have prevented those deaths (suppose lightning strikes, earthquakes, stampedes and such are in those statistics. Have you seen how our government compiles information?), I'd be willing to hear more about changes. I'm not unwilling now, but onerous changes when the industry objects, and parents are being quoted regarding the work their kids do, I think are uncalled for. Sets the stage for the governemnt to move in somewhere else in order to justify a larger budget next year.

And I'd be willing to loosen some of the child labor we have in other industries, too. There's no reason a 17-year-old can't slice meat at a restaurant, or a 16-year-old can't work until 9. If they have good parents, the parents will comunicate rules. If they have crappy parents, they probably need the money.

Ok, this is essentially what I expected. I think we're talking past each other. Your experience is with mostly 17+ and a 16 year old. That's not who we're talking about as child labor. Yes, there are some restrictions on what they can do, but they're allowed to work in most jobs.

Here's an extract from the Federal Farm Labor rules:
Quote:

Minimum Age Standards for Agricultural Employment

16 Minors who are at least 16 years of age may perform any farm job, including agricultural occupations declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor, at any time, including during school hours.

14 Minimum age for employment outside of school hours in any agricultural occupation except those declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor.

12 & 13 May be employed outside of school hours with written parental consent or on a farm where the minor’s parent or person standing in place of the parents is also employed.

Under 12 May be employed outside of school hours with parental consent on a farm where employees are exempt from the Federal minimum wage provisions.

So, this is far beyond even where you were willing to loosen the standards to for other occupation.


I'm curious - have you done farm work before, as?


Nah., I've helpes out a tiny bt but I don't think you could say I have personally done farm work. I know a number of farmers, and more kids who grew up on farms. I have clients who are farmers and so I have spent time with their families. I myself am somewhat the opposite of farmer.

If I understand the rules for farm labor, 14 and under cannot work hazardous jobs (so...no 9 year olds running combines then) and parents of younger kids must approve work. So, I don't get the need for additional restrictions.

And to add to the conversation, no. I haven't employed 12-year-olds and I wouldn't have them in a restaurant environment.


Ancient Sensei wrote:

Nah., I've helpes out a tiny bt but I don't think you could say I have personally done farm work. I know a number of farmers, and more kids who grew up on farms. I have clients who are farmers and so I have spent time with their families. I myself am somewhat the opposite of farmer.

If I understand the rules for farm labor, 14 and under cannot work hazardous jobs (so...no 9 year olds running combines then) and parents of younger kids must approve work. So, I don't get the need for additional restrictions.

And to add to the conversation, no. I haven't employed 12-year-olds and I wouldn't have them in a restaurant environment.

Why not? Maybe not cooking or taking orders, but why not have kids washing dishes or busing tables or other less skilled/not interacting with customers tasks?

Why were you hesitant hiring a 16-year old, but would have no problem with hiring 12-year olds for farm labor?

Also note that farm labor at any allowed age has no restrictions on hours other than "not during school hours." As many hours as you want. As early or late as you want.

I'm just trying to see why farm labor should be treated differently than any other job.


Ancient Sensei wrote:

Nah., I've helpes out a tiny bt but I don't think you could say I have personally done farm work. I know a number of farmers, and more kids who grew up on farms. I have clients who are farmers and so I have spent time with their families. I myself am somewhat the opposite of farmer.

If I understand the rules for farm labor, 14 and under cannot work hazardous jobs (so...no 9 year olds running combines then) and parents of younger kids must approve work. So, I don't get the need for additional restrictions.

And to add to the conversation, no. I haven't employed 12-year-olds and I wouldn't have them in a restaurant environment.

Hmm. Just curious.

Liberty's Edge

When I was in high school I worked part time in the summer and over Christmas breaks, but there's no way I could have worked any time during the rest of the year and kept my grades up. I very distinctly remember my 'bedtime' being extended chiefly because I needed the time to study and do homework.

School let out at 3:30, and I was on the yearbook staff and the debate team. I remember getting home from school around 6 PM, just in time for dinner. That only left about four hours for homework and study.

The couple hours a day in extracurricular could have been spent working for pay, I suppose.

I don't know--I want to say working kids are either geniuses who don't need to study and magically write reports and finish homework in their sleep, or Bart Simpsons who aren't going to study or do homework regardless.


Andrew Turner wrote:

When I was in high school I worked part time in the summer and over Christmas breaks, but there's no way I could have worked any time during the rest of the year and kept my grades up. I very distinctly remember my 'bedtime' being extended chiefly because I needed the time to study and do homework.

School let out at 3:30, and I was on the yearbook staff and the debate team. I remember getting home from school around 6 PM, just in time for dinner. That only left about four hours for homework and study.

The couple hours a day in extracurricular could have been spent working for pay, I suppose.

I don't know--I want to say working kids are either geniuses who don't need to study and magically write reports and finish homework in their sleep, or Bart Simpsons who aren't going to study or do homework regardless.

Or kids who need the money, maybe to help their families, and whose schooling suffers because they're spending less time on it. Or at least give up all the extra-curricular activities that help with college these days.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Paul Watson wrote:

Ok, AS, which of these proposals, taken from the article, do you think should be allowed?

OP article wrote:

• Anyone under age 16 could not operate any power-driven machines unless the child was under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

• Youngsters would be prohibited from handling noncastrated livestock older than 6 months, sows with suckling pigs or cows with a newborn calf. They also could not be in situations where an animal’s behavior might be unpredictable, such as giving shots, dehorning or breeding.

• Youngsters would not be allowed to work inside any grain silo, fruit or forage storage bin, nor would they be allowed to handle pesticides. Also, they would not be allowed to work at heights above 6 feet from a floor, including working on ladders.

• The new regulations would prohibit teenagers from talking on cellphones or texting while operating a tractor.

I'm amazed these aren't already outlawed.

1 - Learned to operate a tractor at 9 and a combine at 13. Both of which I drove solo on many occasions.

2 - Been present for all of those by the time I was in elementary school by the latest.

3 - Been in fruit and storage bins to get stuff out as a kid. Never had a problem.

4 - Completely agree with that one. But the farm where I grew up still doesn't have cell reception.

Side note, I am wirey, not skinny. When I wrestled in school, there were two types of wrestlers according to our coach: farms kids and sissies. At 100 lbs, I could regularly beat kids that outweighed me by 50+ lbs. Now that I am in the military, I have noticed my stamina and strength are much greater than others my size. Farm living is what more kids need. Let natural selection sort out the unfit!

My school day growing up was up at 5 to feed the animals and a few other quick chores, bus to school and get home by about 5 (plenty of time for homework on the bus), dinner, chores for 2 hours, snack, and bed. Mowed 1.6+ acres of lawn with a push mower every other Sat (9 yrs old), split 5+ chords of wood a year by hand (10), loading dozens of 70 lb bales hay onto a wagon (12), barn building/repair (13) and other tasks. My family worked hard and played hard together. I learned alot doing things hands on that still benefit me to this day. I am appalled when people are unable to fix their own electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and many other simple tasks.


Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

1 - Learned to operate a tractor at 9 and a combine at 13. Both of which I drove solo on many occasions.

2 - Been present for all of those by the time I was in elementary school by the latest.

3 - Been in fruit and storage bins to get stuff out as a kid. Never had a problem.

4 - Completely agree with that one. But the farm where I grew up still doesn't have cell reception.

Side note, I am wirey, not skinny. When I wrestled in school, there were two types of wrestlers according to our coach: farms kids and sissies. At 100 lbs, I could regularly beat kids that outweighed me by 50+ lbs. Now that I am in the military, I have noticed my stamina and strength are much greater than others my size. Farm living is what more kids need. Let natural selection sort out the unfit!

My school day growing up was up at 5 to feed the animals and a few other quick chores, bus to school and get home by about 5 (plenty of time for homework on the bus), dinner, chores for 2 hours, snack, and bed. Mowed 1.6+ acres of lawn with a push mower every other Sat (9 yrs...

Remember that none of these regulations apply to working on your own family's farm. They apply to hiring other people's kids to work on farms, including large corporate farms.

What is the difference between hiring 12 year olds to work on the farm and hiring 12 year olds to work in the factory? Why is one a good thing and the other not?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Let natural selection sort out the unfit!

This is quite possibly the best argument you could make against your position. Especially since "unfit" in this case means "crippled or killed by an unpredictable animal, dangerous chemical, silo collapse/explosion, or heavy machinery."

You're making a case for hard labor, not dangerous labor, anyway. Mowing laws, splitting wood, loading hay, and fixing barns aren't dangerous labor, at least to the degree that the article in the OP is discussing.

Liberty's Edge

A Man in Black wrote:
This article is awful.

Yeah see the local paper is a piece of s*&~. I thought I made that clear. With sarcasm. Edit: Actually wait no I guess it's not that bad. It was hilarious in print, though. This huge grainy picture of some girl with a shovel or something? And a cow's rump? Classic.

However, general discussion of farm labour conditions should not be precluded by such a s&+*ty start.

4r3 th3s3 b3tt3r?


A Man In Black wrote:
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Let natural selection sort out the unfit!

This is quite possibly the best argument you could make against your position. Especially since "unfit" in this case means "crippled or killed by an unpredictable animal, dangerous chemical, silo collapse/explosion, or heavy machinery."

You're making a case for hard labor, not dangerous labor, anyway. Mowing laws, splitting wood, loading hay, and fixing barns aren't dangerous labor, at least to the degree that the article in the OP is discussing.

Splitting wood is as dangerous as any other job where you have a blade, physical exertion and a need to get on to the next chore.

@thejeff: I see that you're looking for why farm jobs should be any different from other jobs, and I concur, in a lot of ways they should be the same. I'm sure you recognize I'd jsut as soon see several industries benefit from relaxed child labor laws. No, fight-seekers, this is not the same as welcoming sweat shops and preteens poisoning themselves in meat-packing plants.

I wouldn't have younger kids in a full-service restaurant precisely because there are more dangerous implements per square foot than most other industries. You are correct that younger kids could do different and less dangerous work when it's available, but then a huge part of controlling costs is efficiency and cross-training. I ran good controllables because I could preserve food and labor costs with good training and a smaller, more capable team. You also have to be able to do that so your labor costs don't freak out when minimum wage goes up.

I want to point out, yet again, that AMiB takes a word out of its context, twists it to mean something its author didn't say, and then beats the crap out of an argument no one is making. "Unfit" was used in reference to toughening up the culture instead of weakening it with a list of things kids can't do, but somehow managed to do every day a couple of generations ago. It wasn't used to callously disregard tragic accidents. If you don't choose to take something in a way it was never intended, you'll have more productive conversation.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ancient Sensei wrote:
Splitting wood is as dangerous as any other job where you have a blade, physical exertion and a need to get on to the next chore.

The jobs in the OP don't simply involve a blade and physical exertion, but instead involve the potential for poisoning, explosion, or injury from heavy machinery or animals in dangerous situations.

Didn't think that needed clarification, but here we are.

Ancient Sensei wrote:
I want to point out, yet again, that AMiB takes a word out of its context, twists it to mean something its author didn't say, and then beats the crap out of an argument no one is making. "Unfit" was used in reference to toughening up the culture instead of weakening it with a list of things kids can't do, but somehow managed to do every day a couple of generations ago. It wasn't used to callously disregard tragic accidents. If you don't choose to take something in a way it was never intended, you'll have more productive conversation.

No, of course he didn't mean it that way. But to blithely ignore the hazards is going to lead to an altogether different, quite unpleasant "natural selection", where the unlucky kids are quite literally killed. Nobody is looking to outlaw hard work, but rather dangerous work, and the only natural selection going on in dangerous work isn't desirable at all (I hope). But no, I really don't think our culture needs toughening to the point where we just brush off the fact that 42% of all work-related deaths in minors were in farms, half of which were children under 15.

That said, he may have a point, since the article is vague (and so are the others Gark linked). If it is simply outlawing working on the family farm if it's incorporated, that doesn't seem to me to be a very good idea at all.

-edit-

Speaking of the research.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ho hum.

If anyone wants to surf Google's list of minor variations on the AP story, be my guest.


Look, A Man In Black, if you expect me to become informed on the issues before leaping headlong into a discussion about it, you've got another thing coming.


I agree we shouldn't ignore hazards. Where I don't agree is with the characterisation that opposing increased regulation is ignoring those hazards. There's the belief that regulation might not help much (check out gun control), there's the concern that unintended consequences just make such incidences harder to identify or that they become unreported. And finalyl, there's the idea that you can't legislate tragedy out of life.

I hope it resonates with you, even if we disagree on a number of principles, that statistics are not knowledge. They are tools for analyzing important data. 42% of all work-related deaths of children? If children busing tables at restaurants and running a local convenience store counter accounts for zero deaths, ever, what does that statistic mean? I grant it might answer thejeff's questions about whether all work ought to be regulated as farm work, or vice versa. I'm just saying, 99.9% of kids who work on farms have zero such incidences happen to them. No legislation is likely to improve on that.


Ancient Sensei wrote:
I'm just saying, 99.9% of kids who work on farms have zero such incidences happen to them.

Citation needed.

I can only go on anecdotal evidence, but I've been talking to friends about this issue the last couple days. Every single person I talk to volunteers a story about someone they know that lost a finger, toe, or limb when working on a farm as a child. Meaning under 12. My friend Moose's younger brother lost a thumb. A kid my dad grew up with had brain damage from being kicked by an ornery cow and has been on disability (and in special ed) his whole life.

It's only anecdotal, I know, but I was taken aback because even I didn't see it as being that dangerous.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ancient Sensei wrote:
42% of all work-related deaths of children? If children busing tables at restaurants and running a local convenience store counter accounts for zero deaths, ever, what does that statistic mean?

Funny you should mention that. Working in retail trades (which includes both busing tables and working in a convenience store) is the second most dangerous category. In that category, homicide is the leading cause of death. 18% of youth worker fatalities are in retail trades. Most non-fatal injuries come from cuts, burns, and falls.

Quote:
I'm just saying, 99.9% of kids who work on farms have zero such incidences happen to them. No legislation is likely to improve on that.

Data on non-fatal injury rates on farms is sketchy, because injury rates for other sorts of work are mostly derived from workers' comp data and hospital visits, both of which are skewed in the case of farms.

But here's two facts from the link.

Quote:
According to emergency department data, workers aged 15 to 17 had a substantially higher rate of work-related injuries or illnesses in 1998 than did all workers aged 15 or older: 4.9 per 100 versus 2.9 per 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers [CDC 2001].
Quote:
For young agricultural workers aged 15–17, the risk of fatal injury is four times the risk for young workers in other workplaces [BLS 2000].

This does not mean that work-related injury occurs twenty percent of the time on farms; that's unsupportable. What is important to keep in mind is that nearly 5% of youth workers report an injury that causes them to end up in an emergency room every year, and that farm work is indisputably more dangerous than the average while having much looser restrictions even under the proposed new rules. Don't waste everyone's time with this "99.9" made up nonsense.


Just another stupid law for Joel Salatin to write about in a sequel to his Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From The Local Food Front.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Ansha wrote:
Just another stupid law for Joel Salatin to write about in a sequel to his Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From The Local Food Front.

Ironically, the kind of decentralized, self-sustaining family farms he proposes are completely immune to this regulation, because they're all considered "small farms" under the law. They're subject to a different set of protections, which can only be changed by Congress.

Man, this is a maze, though. It's interesting but byzantine.


Ancient Sensei wrote:
I'm just saying, 99.9% of kids who work on farms have zero such incidences happen to them. No legislation is likely to improve on that.

The CDC ranks agriculture as one of the most dangerous industries to work in. The majority of kids working probably don't partake in the dangerous activities listed in this legislation. Most kids are employed picking produce, which results in repetitive stress injuries. There are also instances of kids 12 and younger working 10 hours a day.


Quote:
Man, this is a maze, though. It's interesting but byzantine.

Well that explains it...

Liberty's Edge

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
...My school day growing up was up at 5 to feed the animals and a few other quick chores, bus to school and get home by about 5 (plenty of time for homework on the bus), dinner, chores for 2 hours, snack, and bed. Mowed 1.6+ acres of lawn with a push mower every other Sat (9 yrs...

You, sir, are a god among men.

I recall getting up at 6 AM, at school by 7:30 (getting a head start in chemistry lab, physics lab, preparing for an upcoming debate trip, working on sheets for the yearbook, developing in the darkroom, etc.).

I feel fortunate that by high school I didn’t really have chores, per se—I carried out the trash when it was ready, I washed dishes with my sister every other night; and these both took no time at all.

Keeping my room clean can’t be considered a chore. Weekends were spent on reports and research and the homework issued Friday, due Monday.

I guess I could have been working in the remaining weekend time, instead of playing D&D or going to movies.

I drove myself beginning in the 11th grade, which took my ride to and from school down to 15 minutes, and my mom drove me 90% of the time before that. My bus ride would have been something like 40 minutes in the morning, and close to 90 minutes in the evening.

Nonetheless, I never could have done all my homework on the bus. For those who’ve been out of school for a while (over 20 years for me), or who never rode the bus, imagine doing your homework for several subjects, with thick hardcover books, notes and notebooks, in a theatre seat at the local cinema. Ouch!

Not to mention, I dare say I never had a single night of just over two hours of homework/study. In fact, I remember just finishing homework around 11 PM; and in my senior year, often not until after midnight.

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