Attention Farmers: Stop the Child Abuse!
by Angela Wenell
Apparently the latest demographic to be targeted by regulations from the federal government is farmers. The Department of Labor has recently submitted proposed regulations prohibiting kids under the age of 18 from working on farms. They have ever so generously made an exception if the child’s parents are the sole owners of the farm, but sorry grandparents, your grandkids can no longer tag along with you while doing chores (for all you city folk, this does not mean vacuuming and dusting. It means feeding the animals and any other necessary daily work farms require). But even if the parents do own the farm, kids are not permitted to run any machinery powered electrically. No tractor driving, four-wheel driving, or screw driving. Oh, and no stacking hay bales more than 6 feet high (again, for the city folk, the result will be no more kids stacking hay bales). Apparently teaching your kids the value of hard work is now considered child abuse.
There is also concern for organizations like Future Farmers of America and 4H, as many of the projects kids participate in with the programs require work and running machinery now being outlawed. And about that safety award they give to kids, that now requires the completion of an extensive government training program.
The preposterousness of all of this is obvious and endless. My husband grew up on a good ol’ Iowa farm, complete with livestock and all. There were many mornings he was up at the crack of dawn doing chores (repeat definition above for city folk) before school. He learned what hard work was beginning at a young age. He also had to pay for his own gas when he got a car (gasp!), knew how to balance a check book by the time he graduated high school, and because he had been disciplined to work hard, he paid his way through college at Iowa State University without any debt upon graduation. He also didn’t need a school sex education program, the animals taught him everything he needed to know (every parent’s dream, right?).
The thought never crossed his mind that his parents were abusing him. I guess the government hadn’t made him aware of it yet. If only he had known sooner, things might have been different. He never would have earned and saved all that money for college by raising sheep for 4H projects and selling them at the state fair. He could have lived like most of the students his age and taken out school loans only to spend a majority of his adult life paying them off. That would have been so much better for him and our family. I’m so thankful the government has stepped in to prevent more farm kids from being abused like this. It will be so beneficial for our country in the future.
I’m sure I don’t need to point out the hypocrisy of the government, but let’s do it anyway, just for fun. Michelle Obama is running around the country speaking to school kids trying to get them off the couch and exercise with her “Let’s Move” initiative, and then the DOL tells the only demographic of parents that are still teaching their kids to work hard and not spend eight hours a day playing video games and watching TV that they can’t do that anymore. Right.
The irony in all of this is that if the government continues to regulate and spend at the current rate, the people that actually know how to survive without a grocery store could quite possibly become the most valuable source of information on the planet.
I guess you know your country is doomed when it starts biting the hands that feed it.
Angela Wenell is a wife, mom of three, and business owner in the Des Moines area. Her husband grew up on a farm . . . and he’s just fine.