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Victory for Ag Education: Proposed Agriculture Labor Rules Withdrawn

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April 27, 2012

Victory for Ag Education: Proposed Agriculture Labor Rules Withdrawn

By: Alisha

Since last fall, ACTE has been working with a number of agriculture education groups to oppose the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed revisions to the child labor regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) related to agriculture occupations and work experiences. Throughout the proposed regulations, many of the student learner exemptions were eliminated, which would have severely limited or eliminated opportunities for students to participate in the experiential learning aspects of school agriculture programs.

Due in large part to the work of the agricultural community, the Department of Labor announced on April 26 that it was withdrawing the proposed regulations. “The Obama administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations. As a result, 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 announcement goes on to announce a partnership with ag groups to increase safety for students and other children involved in agriculture activities. "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 is a great example of how grassroots advocacy can have an impact at the federal level, and a great victory for agriculture education experiences!

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