The following statement was released late Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Department of Labor and also distributed by the White House:
"The Obama administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. 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 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."
IPSA offered comments in opposition to the rulemaking last year, and appreciates that a voice of reason has emerged on this topic. More details will be shared as they become public.