Neb. Farmers Protest in Lincoln Over Proposed Labor Laws

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Small business owners in Nebraska say a new law proposed by the Department of Labor could be devastating to the farming economy.

They gathered to speak out today at the state capitol.

The Farm Bureau, detasseling companies, and the teenage detasselers the law would protect all say it's a bad idea.

The Department of Labor bill would stop kids under the age of 16 from working on farms not owned by their parents.

As many as 80,000 kids aged 13 and up work as detasslers in Nebraska each year.

Opponents of the bill say the job is much safer than it used to be and is already goverened by strict guidelines.

The teen detasselers say the summer job provides them with much needed money for college and other expenses.

One Farm Bureau representative says he understands the need to keep kids safe on the farm, but the bill is just too broadly written.

The owner of one detasseling company says she doesn't think the people who wrote the bill know the detasseling industry even exists.

The goal of the Department of Labor's bill is to protect young teens working on farms from potentially fatal accidents.

Public comment on the law ends Thursday.

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