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Colorado Farmers Fight Proposed On-Farm Child Labor Laws

KUNC file photo

Colorado farmers are upset with the Obama Administration over a proposal to change child labor laws for kids under the age of 18 who work in agriculture; a move that's stemmed from several high-profile accidents involving kids on farms around the country.One of the more contentious rules would prevent children under the age of 15 from working anywhere but their parents' farm.  Another would ban those under 18 from entering grain elevators and even livestock auctions. 


Troy Marshall, a cattle rancher near Burlington on the Colorado-Kansas line, says the changes would make it virtually impossible for him to hire anyone under the age of 18.

"I guess my biggest concern is we have a lot of good kids out there that have helped us from everything from branding to helping move and sort cattle that won’t have the opportunity to work in agriculture and get that type of experience," Marshall says.

The new rules follow a slate of high profile farming accidents involving kids around the country, including the death of a teen in 2009 in a grain elevator in the eastern Colorado town of Haxwell.

Labor Department officials have argued the new rules are needed to enhance child safety.

The US Labor Department's public comment period on the proposed rule changes runs through Thursday, December First.

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