Archive for Friday, January 6, 2012

Update to labor laws could prevent youths from doing certain tasks

From left, sisters Baylee Wulfkuhle, 10, and Madison Wulfkuhle, 13, feed their 4-H steers on Friday at their family farm south of Stull. Some new restrictions by the U.S. Department of Labor regarding child labor laws would restrict what work kids like the Wulfkuhles can do on their farm.

From left, sisters Baylee Wulfkuhle, 10, and Madison Wulfkuhle, 13, feed their 4-H steers on Friday at their family farm south of Stull. Some new restrictions by the U.S. Department of Labor regarding child labor laws would restrict what work kids like the Wulfkuhles can do on their farm.

January 6, 2012


From driving tractors to vaccinating calves, farm families worry that changes to federal laws governing what work youths can get paid to do on the farm could change their way of life.

Last fall, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed changes to the rules that prevent young workers from being paid to do certain tasks in the agriculture industry. Those laws, known as agricultural hazardous occupations orders, hadn’t been updated since 1970. The intent is to bridge the gap between rules for farms and the more stringent rules that youths not working in agricultural settings have to follow.

“Children employed in agriculture are some of the most vulnerable workers in America,” Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said.

But farmers, including those in Douglas County, say family farming isn’t like any other industry. And those rules would go beyond changing how farmers do business to eroding the fabric of farming communities.

“I think there are a lot of families who couldn’t do what they do if they don’t have their kids helping them,” Brenna Wulfkuhle said.

Wulfkuhle, who with her husband, Mark, operates Rocking H Ranch three miles south of Stull, has three daughters under the age of 16. The family also employes a high school student. For Wulfkuhle, there is much in the proposed changes that raises concerns.

“To me, there is a lot of integrity and a lot of just good work ethic that comes from kids that are raised in agriculture or work in an agriculture background,” Wulfkuhle said.

Confusion about changes

Children of parents who own or operate a farm would still be exempted from the new regulations. But what isn’t clear are what rules apply to youths who work on their grandparents’ or aunt and uncle’s farm, rented land or on a farm that is part of a business entity, corporation or partnership. And that last item is an issue for many local families who have turned farms into corporations for estate-planning purposes.

“We are one of the smaller farms in Douglas County as far as conventional agricultural,” said Clint Hornberger, a fifth-generation farmer in southern Douglas County. “We do operate as a corporation. We formed in the ’80s to make the transition from one generation to the next a whole lot easier.”

Hornberger said that when he was growing up, he was paid 25 cents for every calf he bottle fed. It wouldn’t come to much more than $3 a day, but under the proposed changes he doesn’t think that would be allowed to work because the family farm is under a corporation.

“If they figured out a way to enforce some of the proposed changes, I think it would (negatively) influence the ability to learn about agriculture and learn about an industry that has a lot to offer,” Hornberger said.

Here are some of the other changes:

• Paid workers younger than 16 couldn’t operate almost any power-driven equipment, such as tractors, ATVs and grain elevators. The worker also couldn’t ride as a passenger on farm machines when they are being driven on public roads.

• Paid workers younger than 16 couldn’t help with certain animal related chores, such as branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating or treating sick or injured animals. They also couldn’t help herd animals into feed lots or corrals when on horseback or using trucks or ATVs.

• Paid workers younger than 16 couldn’t work inside a grain silo or bin or manure pit.

• Those 18 or younger would be prohibited from working at grain elevators, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

Denying kids lessons

For Wulfkuhle, putting restrictions on what farming kids can do limits the lessons they learn from growing up around agriculture. Along with instilling the basics of hard work, Wulfkuhle said, it also passes down the knowledge of how to farm.

Right now, her girls, ages 15, 13 and 10, help with many of the tasks that she fears might not be allowed under the changes, such as vaccinating cattle, sorting cattle in small areas and moving farm machinery in the fields.

Wulfkuhle grew up on a dairy farm where she milked cows before and after school. In high school, she participated in a supervised occupational experience program, working at a greenhouse and local vet.

One of Wulfkuhle’s biggest concerns is that the proposed changes would limit what students can do when they participate in such a program. One of the men hired on Wulfkuhle’s farm began his work through a supervised occupational program as a junior in high school. That was almost a decade ago.

“It is very difficult to start in agriculture without a little bit of background and a little bit of a foundation,” she said.

Both Wulfkuhle and Hornberger don’t shy away from the risks the occupation can bring.

“Our job is dangerous,” Hornberger said. “But part of growing up around that environment is learning the dangers at a young age so you can stay away from them.”

The vast majority of young workers are the owner’s children, relatives or neighbors, Hornberger said.

“Around here, the youths that are working in agriculture are all very much a part of the community. They are not a stranger, someone that someone doesn’t know on a personal level. To think we as ag producers or employers would put them in danger is kind of preposterous.”


buffalo63 6 years ago

Could children do the jobs if they weren't paid? By paying a child, does that count as an expense for farming, but wages not enough to pay income tax? As a city kid, not sure how that works. I do feel it is a stretch for children not being able to work on a family farm which would include grandparents, etc.

budman 6 years ago

More senseless regulation of the states by the federal government. Where do they get the right. When conservatives talk about deregulation, they're talking about not letting the government regulate every aspect of our lives like this.

budman 6 years ago

Really what this is, is an attack on family owned farms to the benefit of Big Ag. Farmers have it tough as it is, a tough those who's lives revolve around sipping coffee and eating cupcakes from a store wouldn't understand.

This regulation only makes it harder for "family" farm's to be owned and operated by the "family". This can only benefit Big Ag companies by increasing the costs of their competitors. This is the same thing that big corporations do to crowd out the small guy, create senseless regulations in their favor.

But I'm glad the good people of Lawrence are all for the 1%

deec 6 years ago

Rather than worrying about being able to continue to hire children for pennies, maybe the farmers can use some of their thousands of dollars of farm subsidies to hire unemployed adults to work on their farms.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

I have to wonder if you are aware of how limited of an income most farms produce, and also if you have any idea who does that work now.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

Actually, the average net income for Kansas farms in 2010 (the last year for which the Kansas Farm Management Association...KFMA...has figures) was $157,459.

Almost a third of the farms had a net income of $50,000-$150,000. This represented the second largest chunk. The third largest chunk earned a max of $50,000 net. In addition, 13% lost money...while the largest chunk - over 1/3 of Kansas farms - netted more than $150,000.

KFMA figures also show that the average total family living expenses were $61,337.

With figures like these, it seems to me that it's actually kinda hard to argue "how limited of an income most farms produce".

deec 6 years ago

I live in a farming community now. There sure are a lot of new pickups and rvs on the streets for such an impoverished profession. Your tax dollars at work. Between 1995-2010, Douglas county Ks received $52.7 million in subsidies. The county where I live received $204 million in the same time period. The current population in the county is 14,200. Farm welfare-nice work if you can get it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

If only family owned farms were considered in those statistics, you would see a very different picture.

It is true that large corporate farming ventures often are very profitable. But the same is not true of small family farms.

The statistics you are quoting make no differentiation between those two very different types of businesses.

deec 6 years ago

There are barely any small family farms anymore. Independent farmers now essentially are tenant farmers for agribusiness. It is true that agribusiness profits most from subsidies. "62 percent of farmers in United States did not collect subsidy payments - according to USDA. Ten percent collected 74 percent of all subsidies." That doesn't change the fact that my little county with 14 thousand residents soaked up millions. I don't think anyone should receive farm subsidies. It is welfare for one industry, and artificially keeps food prices low. Subsidies encourage monocultural crops and excess consumption of corn-derived foods. Subsidies practically force farmers to adopt ecologically damaging practices, like the reliance on genetically modified corn strains, pesticides and herbicides.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

"There are barely any small family farms anymore."

Let's take a trip out west and I'll introduce you to some.

impska 6 years ago

Or take an even shorter trip to the Lawrence farmer's market and talk to some of the farmers in your own community.

And the fact that agriculture is dominated by giant corporations means what: that we should assault those few family farms with more regulations and laws that harm only them?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

BUT - hiring children to do tasks that are not part of their family tradition is a very different matter, and should not be allowed.

newmedia 6 years ago

Let's not forget that 80% of the current farm bill is spent on FOOD STAMPS. Perhaps the govt should set up food stamps as a seperate dept. to highlight it's allocation. Eat well my friend and thank a farmer.....

ivalueamerica 6 years ago

what you think you know about farmers and what you really know are so far apart it is unreal. How embarrassing for you.

budman 6 years ago

^hey and if you know anything feel free to share it with us

budman 6 years ago

Why even have family farms, why not let all our food be grown by some corporation

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

More nanny-state nonsense from Obama and Holda Solis. If early Americans had been under the yoke of government control the way we are now, they never would have made it.

Hold on a minute - they were. That's why they declared their independence from England.

Americans need to declare their independence from Obama and his liberal Democrat pals in November of 2012 and stop them before they take complete control over our lives.

budman 6 years ago

You know when conservatives talk about deregulation, its about getting rid of senseless rules like these.

Maybe liberals were those very popular kids in school that loved all rules, never broke them, and only friends were the teachers who made the rules.The trend follows in their later life.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

"Children of parents who own or operate a farm would still be exempted from the new regulations."

I have been following this rather closely, having been a very young farm worker. I first drive a pickup to help feed the cattle at 4 or 5, and by the age of 12 I drove the tractor regularly. But that was all on our farm, on land that my father owned.

It wasn't until about the age of about 16 that I helped some with some of the equipment that my father used for custom work on land that was owned by others. And even then, my role was quite limited due to my young age and unfamiliarity with the some of the dangers of the equipment that was used. And also, since I was only 16 the physical strength that was required to do some of the work was somewhat of a problem.

So it appears that the new regulations, had they been in place in the 1960s, would not have affected me at all.

When my father hired help, I don't think he ever hired anyone younger than maybe one that was about 17, and even then he was hired only for very limited work that was not very dangerous.

The "real work" that might have resulted in injuries if there was any carelessness was always done by men that were very aware of the dangers, and very, very few were only 18. Those that were only 18 were certainly the young pups out there. Most of the workers were much older.

I will toss this in: Just about every single one of the workers personally knew someone that had been involved in a farm accident that had horrific consequences that I do not want to describe here. So not very many things were taken lightly.

So it appears that none of this will apply to anyone that is in the situation I was in so many years ago.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to have not helped my father and grandfather on the family farm. Many times, it's when you work together that memories are built, and I would certainly not want to not have missed out on those memories. I could expound at length on that subject, and it could easily be a book.

In fact, most all of that is not memories of work at all. They are memories of me helping with family tasks that have been done in my family for literally centuries, as we were homesteaders that were farmers that had come from Russia in the 1880s, and prior to that, my family had farmed in what is now Germany until about the 1820s.

Although our family occupation before the 1820s is now lost in the mists of time, I'm sure it was in agriculture of some sort for many centuries before that.

So when I helped on the family farm, I was taking part in a tradition that was many, many centuries old.

jafs 6 years ago

That's nice for you.

I knew somebody, on the other hand, who sued his parents for making him work on their farm.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

jafs - one of my finest memories is one day when my grandfather, my father, my brother, and I were all working together stacking a very large load of hay.

My grandfather looked at me, smiled, and told me (in English, he had learned it in German) an old, old saying that has been passed down for many generations.

"Many hands make the work light."

I certainly will never forget that, and it is so very true.

jafs 6 years ago

As I said - that's nice for you, that you had a positive experience of that.

However, others don't see it as so positive, like the fellow I mentioned, and the fellow below.

Personally, I have some sympathy for kids that don't want to work on the farm, and feel abused by being forced to do so - it's hard work, and lengthy, and they didn't make the decision to be farmers.

twinetowngirl 6 years ago

that just breaks my heart for him....waaa. Thats one of the problems of the youth these days. They get babied, and for the most part are lazy. Lets not forget that this kid had a roof over his head and food to eat, provided by his parents, most likely from the income of that farm that he was "forced" to work on.

jafs 6 years ago

You're entitled to your opinion.

I have a different view - in my view, it's the parent's job to take care of their children, not the reverse.

And, if the parent wants to be a farmer, it's their responsibility to make that work, not their children's.

What if the parents aren't farmers? Should their kids have to go into work with them and do some of that work?

Brock Masters 6 years ago

Interesting question. I think the answer is yes, many kids whose parents are not farmers do go to work with them and do some of the work. Look around some retail stores, restaurants, etc. that are family owned and you'll often see children working there.

With that said, if the child labor laws are reasonable for other industries then there is no reason to exempt ag. The issue then are the laws reasonable?

jafs 6 years ago


But I bet that the vast majority of parents don't make their kids go to work with them and work there.

Imagine that - bring your kid to work and make them work there, because you're providing a house and food for them.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

Good grief. This "today's kids are babied and lazy" nonsense has been around for generations. My parents said it about my generation. Your parents' generation said it about you and your generation. And now you're saying it about the next generation.

The truth? Had we had video games 60 years ago, then 60 years ago we kids would have been glued to them. Conversely, if today we didn't have electricity and we all lived on farms and kids had to milk cows in order to have food and chop wood for heat, then kids would be milking cows and chopping wood.

Times change. Heck, I remember what it was like before television and, then, after television came to our town. So anyone fooling themselves into believing that kids were somehow 'better in the old days' because of some halcyon work ethic, rather than simply by circumstance, is...well, just plain fooling themselves.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

jafs, I had it good, but I do realize that not everyone does.

My father never actually overworked me, although it might have seemed like it at the time. He paid me for every hour I worked on the farm when I was young, and later, for all the farm work for others when I was considered old enough to do that, after I was 16 or maybe even older.

All that work on the family farm had a fantastic fringe benefit. When it was time for me to go to college, my father insisted that he pay for all the tuition, books, dorm fees, a car for me to use, the car insurance, and the car registration.

Student loan? Why would I need something like that?

I still had to do some farm work in the summer though, and that was distributed to me monthly during the school year for my allowance.

Anyone that would try to sue their parents for a deal like that certainly needs the services of a psychiatrist.

jafs 6 years ago

That certainly seems like a very different situation.

As far as I know, the guy I knew was never paid for his labor, and I doubt that his parents offered to pay for college, etc.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

So no, my parents were NOT one "of those struggling farmers barely making ends meet." They were much more than farmers, and they had to be in order to maintain a decent lifestyle.

deec 6 years ago

I guess if your folks were able to pay all your college expenses out of pocket, they must not have been some of those struggling farmers barely making ends meet you alluded to earlier.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

For many years my father worked a full time job in addition to farming. Also, he was a salesman for a crop insurance company, and quite an entrepreneur on his own and did a LOT of work for other farmers. He earned a fantastic income doing that.

Very little of the family income was derived from the family farm operation, for the simple reason that there was no simply no way to make any kind of money doing it.

If we had been forced to live on only the income the farm produced, there would not have been a dime for college.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

He had 3 or 4 jobs at a time. Farming was only one of them.

And, it was the one that produced the least amount of income.

jafs 6 years ago

I'm sure you know the old jokes:

How do you make a million dollars farming? Start with two million.

What would a farmer do if he won a million dollars in the lottery? Farm until it's gone.

Ba-dum-dum tchhh.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Oh, I forgot. My mother worked full time as an elementary school teacher. That helped too.

SnakeFist 6 years ago

Where's Liberty_Belle? I figured he'd be the first to condemn what he would call blatant unconstitutional governmental interference in businesses' God-given freedom to hire children to perform hazardous jobs in order to maximize profits for business owners.

Of course, he would say it smoother than I just did. He'd probably say that millions of American children are starving because they're being denied hazardous jobs.

sad_lawrencian 6 years ago

I absolutely think they should change the rules. As far as this statement, "Right now, her with many of the tasks that...might not be allowed under the changes, such as vaccinating cattle...and moving machinery": Good! Kids shouldn't be allowed to do work like that. If I had kids, they wouldn't be "moving machinery" at the ages of 10, 13, and 15!

usesomesense 6 years ago

This type of nit-pickery is exactly why we have grown dependent on foreign products and food supplies. It's not that we import food, products and cotton because it's exotic and we can't grow it here or exceeds our technical abilities. It's because we can't compete fiscally. Yet we'll happily turn a blind eye to the true exploitation of foreign children and buy those pair of Nike's and put on our brand new shirt that will start falling apart by the time it's washed three times - all the while putting our own farmers out of business and closing our own factories. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for working smart and having high skills jobs, but working smart should go hand in hand with working hard - not just getting paid a lot to be lazy because you have everybody convinced you're worth it. That's a big part of what got us into the economic mess we're in. Exposure to work and responsibility at least in the early teens is critical for long term development of a decent work ethic. The fed is gradually making it impossible for anyone under the age of 18 to get any work experience. While I'm strongly against endangerment and exploitation of our youth, I'm also against allowing them to think that they shouldn't have to work reasonably hard just to get by and work really hard if they wan't to get somewhere.
Subsidized farming is a bad substitute for tariffs on imported food products from countries that exploit all ages - not just children. We have to stop punishing our own for the despicable policies of foreign countries. If they don't want to be reasonable with their workers it should cost them more to get it in the country than if we produced it ourselves here.

tnfats 6 years ago

Wow, that's the first time I've seen a comment like that that doesn't blame Obama or "lie-berals" as if they invented the very concept of 'relax citizen and let the government take care of it' just four years ago.

Because no previous conservative administration ever, and especially not that of the True American Jesus (tm), Reagan, would dare imagine or allow a government designed to control, manipulate, and dictate to the populace

I grew up on a farm near Pomona and I think these restriction are ridiculous, but to paint this as "evil liberals are trying to destroy America despite the best effort of pure hearted conservative freedom fighters (who are really the victims here)" is ludicrous.

The government, of either wing, right, left, and even in the middle, has always told to the people, and believed, that it knows best and made laws to enforce that belief. That's what a government does (note: not what it should do).

tnfats 6 years ago

Oh, wait, nevermind. Continue on with the partisan warfare below. Since that kind of inflexible bickering is just what is needed.

Remember kids, it's not the way the system is constructed, it's who is charge - commie American hating liberals or jack booted fundy conservatives - and any problems can easily be blamed on one or the other (based on your preference). No need to think about changing anything.

Move along now.

Armstrong 6 years ago

Undoubtedly this batch or rules and regs was proposed by people whose experience with farming is limited to eating the animals. Ladies and gentlemen let's hear it for hope and change !

nut_case 6 years ago

'paid to do' - Well, I guess that is a novel idea. Growing up, we were 'made' to do work, there was no 'pay', you simply did it because you were told to.

drsilo 6 years ago

This is great news. I grew up on the farm. From 8 years on I was treated like a slave. Up a 4:00 to milk the cows then to school ( summer work all day ) then home at 4:30 to milk the cows, Done a 9 or 10:00. No time for home work and never any paid, if you were sick you still worked, and never a day off, I work in the sh*t pits, in the silo's, big equipment you name it. Lots of kids, but not all kids on the farm are/were treated this way. I was never beaten, but I had friends who were and they had no one to turn to for help. It's time farm kids get some protection.

budman 6 years ago

Are social workers now protecting our children from excessive chores?

drsilo 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Kinda interesting that the usual suspects are defending the right of parents to abuse and exploit their children (and those of their neighbors) in the name of "freedom."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

That totally depends on the chores, among other things.

But that gets into the "nuance" thing-- something your obviously immune to.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Even more interesting would be your list. Care to provide one?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

I made no attempt to support this "list" or any other.

But neither have I hysterically claimed that any sort of limitations on what kids are allowed to do will somehow destroy family farming.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Your posts would be much improved if you could just work a few more "libs" in there. They really provide lots of punch to your otherwise pointless rants.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

It wasn't intended as a rebuttal (because there was nothing to rebut.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Kids should get early exposure to work, and a chance to learn from their parents, and not just on farms. But there are some things that just aren't appropriate for kids anywhere, whether it's on a farm or elsewhere.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

There were a few pieces of farm equipment that I was very clearly told that if I ever approached too closely, I was going to get the whipping of my life.

And so I stayed away from those machines. Maybe that's why I'm alive today.

budman 6 years ago

Yeah but you and the people who made these rules aren't farmers, so you really don't know what you're talking about.

But as usual, the libs treat and defend any bureaucratic regulation as if its a commandment in the bible.

labmonkey 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

Why on earth did you call him a liar? And why on earth did you think it was appropriate to call him a liar? So his life story isn't the same as your life story...why the heck does it have to be???

I find it awfully naive for anyone to think that life on a family farm is always sweetness and light. Is hard work, to be sure, but that farm children are always treated with dignity, respect, love and affection.

More important, I find it utterly inappropriate for you to disparage drsilo this way simply because you didn't like the story he told. And then, when rapidly backtracking and acknowledging that you really didn't have a clue whether or not he was telling the truth when he shared his story, denigrating the rest of us by proclaiming that his telling the truth is "a rare exception".

I believe you owe drsilo a public apology for calling him a liar. And I believe you owe all of us an apology for attempting to brand us as liars as well. Just because you don't like what someone else has to say doesn't make it not true. And it certainly doesn't give you the right to call us liars.

labmonkey 6 years ago

I do not know why my post was deleted, but I will tell you why I called him a liar... farm kids who work their butts off generally don't grow up to be whiners... they appreciate the work ethic that growing up on a farm instilled in them. I also grew up on a farm and most of my friends were farm kids (many who worked as hard as drsilo claimed to work) and none of us are whining about our upbringing now. Where drsilo tipped his hand is making it seem that farm kids are abused which is rarely the case...

I owe no one an apology, and I will be damned if I am lectured to by someone who has no idea who they are talking about.... and I am sure this post will also be deleted because it seems the new overseers have a light stomach.

drsilo 6 years ago

We are hard worker, but we paid a price for it I said some of us, not all were treated this way. Call me what you want. I had worse.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

This rules don't prohibit kids from doing work on farms. They merely limit the work that is allowed.

Do you think there should be any limits placed on what kids can be required (or allowed) to do on farms? Should a three-year-old be allowed to run a combine?

deec 6 years ago

The rules don't even apply to children doing work on their own family's farm, if it is a family farm and not a corporation.

deec 6 years ago

Well I guess the incorporated family farms will have to decide which is more beneficial economically-losing the tax breaks for being a corporation, or actually paying adults to do farm work. Or they could stand on the principle that teaching their kids to work cheap is more important than the tax advantages they get by incorporating.

Kendall Simmons 6 years ago

I find it amazing how many people posting are having difficulty understanding the word "paid" in these new regulations. Jeez, when I grew up, we weren't paid. We got an allowance.

Perhaps the problem is that farmers want the tax deductions for paying their underaged kids and these changes would interfere with that???

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

toe, I'm from a very small town and have a family farm background. Where I came from, almost everyone was dependent upon farming for a living in one way or another. Therefore, I am in a position of being far more educated than you are upon this subject. This is all I have to say:

You are right.

budman 6 years ago

This regulation only makes it harder for "family" farm's to be owned and operated by the "family". This can only benefit Big Ag companies by increasing the costs of their competitors. This is the same thing that big corporations do to crowd out the small guy, create senseless regulations in their favor.

But I'm glad the good Libs of Lawrence are all for corporate welfare and the 1%

rtwngr 6 years ago

The government says you can't employ them on the farm because it is too dangerous but you can slaughter them in the womb at will.

matix 6 years ago

This only helps Big Ag and Big Gov't. Small family owned farms be damned. Your children are in danger. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Dan Eyler 6 years ago

Had my first job at 12 throwing papers, but quickly realized I wasn't making enough money. Took a job washing dishes at 13-14 making more money. I was cooking breakfast there by 14 or so 1979...loved it made more money! But not enough so I decided to get a job at ALCO department store made more money it was great. Saving account was growing fast. Wasn't enough pay so I moved on and by 16 I was working for the soil conservation service. Great job but I found a girl friend who messed that job all up, got fired and went back to ALCO and then off to college. Bottom line is the sooner you start making money the better. Hard work is no big deal. Now a kid can't work until 16, this country is in trouble.

Douglas Garst 6 years ago

Heaven Forbid!!! It is about time that Mrs. Solis, who has worked in the government sector all of her life, put a halt to farm children from doing farm chores! Let alone knows which end of the pitch fork pitches manure.

Yes to not allowing farm children from gathering eggs in the chicken coop because the chicken coop is essentially a manure pit.

Yes to not allowing farm children from riding in a climate controlled cab of a farm tractor with their father ~ the dangers in a climate controlled cab of a farm tractor is really bad.

Yes to not allowing farm children from greasing the farm implements ~ those grease guns are very dangerous and can go off without warning.

Yes to not allowing farm children that are holding the vaccinating medications for their father ~ those vaccinating medications are very heavy.

Yes to not allowing farm children inside a grain silo (bins) to scoop out the grain ~ the grain silos and bins are very dark places and the “boogyman” hides there.

So what are farm parents to do with their farm children? Easy, send them to sad_lawrencian house as sad-lawrencian will never allow those farm children to return to their parents farm as the children may cut their foot by stepping on a fresh pile of cow manure!

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years ago

So I guess I can't let my 11 year do house chores now? I mean come on that vacum might run her toe over or the dishes might break and cut her. Some things are just dumb this is one My dad farmed growing up hated it but did it helping out is what you do no diffrent on a farm or in a house chores are chores. Instead of paying them per say just say it is their allowance.

Jonathan Fox 6 years ago

Got to have more government beauracrats stepping into things they don't understand. How do they even enforce this? Are cops going to wonder onto farmer's field to check the driver's licence of a kid on a combine? As bogus as this law will be, it's not going to be enforced. The majority of sheriffs in farm communities aren't even going to bother enforcing such a rediculous law anymore than a traffic cop pulling you over for failing to use your turn signal. I grew up on a farm driving tractors at 7-8. Hardly anyone here has any idea what a farm is like, they've never been on a tractor, let alone done a real hard days work. And that's fine, sit in your office, type on your computer, whatever.

"I'm with the government and I'm here to help."

lucky_guy 6 years ago

I guess farm kids are just more expendable that city kids. The subsidies their parents get should compensate them for losing a few here and there.
Farming is dangerous, one of the most dangerous professions, just not reported 'cause the damage is in the "family".
I grew up on a farm and I made it out. I also know about 5 kids that didn't. Farming is paying off now so we are seeing that anytime you make money you get more regulatons. Not quite sure about all the regs but some of the ones about machinery are good. What is probably more important is to keep the kids away from the chemicals.

pace 6 years ago

Farm kids, kids of builders, etc. learn a lot, but hiring a kid and putting him/her in a situation that is new is more dangerous than people think. Kids raised around some jobs are maimed, killed, with experience of the conditions. Living on a farm is training, going to work on a farm without experience is very chancy. People think young kids have common sense? I use to dread working with some young guy, who claimed experience or knowledge, who, it turned out, thought they could bluff their way through. Especially stupid were the guys who, resenting someone telling them what or how to do something, decide quietly to do something slightly different. My uncle almost lost his life on a job with such a punk. The punk thought is was an accident because he had no idea "that" would happen. People who think farm work is picking up eggs under a feisty chicken are romantic movie fans. I took care of horses, I loved them, they are tough, remember movie fans, one killed superman. The reason for good law to protect children is, there are people who have no judgement or sense of context.

budman 6 years ago

This regulation only makes it harder for "family" farm's to be owned and operated by the "family". This can only benefit Big Ag companies by increasing the costs of their competitors. This is the same thing that big corporations do to crowd out the small guy, create senseless regulations in their favor.

But I'm glad the good people of Lawrence are all for the 1%

pace 6 years ago

Odd you attach your piece of nonsense to my comment. My points had nothing to do with the advantages of hiring children for dangerous tasks to keep farmer's costs down to combat corporate farming . I do not think hiring children for dangerous works is the economic solution to big business. You are free to think that way, I think you are deluded to think letting corporations and independent farmers hire children for dangerous work should be used to promote one side over the other. For me, It is a different argument about corporate farm versus family farm. I do not hate nor fear all of the corporate farming effects. They produce a lot of food. I do tire of all the subsidies they soak up, corporate welfare is an astonishingly drain on our taxes without many benefits for the tax payers. I watch my tax money flow and think corporations get too much of it.
Some of the practices of corporate farms are predatory and produce poison. Some of the Family farms and small farming aren't good upriver neighbors to have. I see both, the corporate farm and small farmer as great forces to have in the system and worth protecting. I don't support either form of farming by saying we should NOT enforce or have regulations protecting children or the environment. You might feel the regulations to protect the environment or children are wrong headed or not equal to the costs. That is your, not mine, opinion. Rule, regulation, practices, and law all, must be measured and not decided on just feelings or short term effects.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

This is one of the most outrageous laws yet. Lets teach these young teens to lay around and get fat and encourage them to live off the govt teet for the rest of their lives!

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

This is such a joke. Living rural is not easily understood. Which is why idiots try to legislate farming out of existence. Good grief!

This is what real farmers do..................................... Paid workers younger than 16 couldn’t help with certain animal related chores, such as branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating or treating sick or injured animals. They also couldn’t help herd animals into feed lots or corrals when on horseback or using trucks or ATVs.

• Paid workers younger than 16 couldn’t work inside a grain silo or bin or manure pit.

• Those 18 or younger would be prohibited from working at grain elevators, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

Say bye bye to freedoms a little at a time plebeians. Make sure your seat belt is on real tight. Trim that lawn, and be sure to ask if you want to trim your tree.

I can see this happening quick like a bunny.........

Dad, you mean I can't help Mr. John Q. Farmer with harvesting this year? Yep son. Does that mean I can't earn money for my car? Yep. Maybe I should just chuck it all then get me one of the double wides in town and get me one of them thar KU sit around all day jobs.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

Gandalf....Because that man abused his kid you think this 'law'will prevent such abuse?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Well after we lost everything, there will still be jobs in rural American.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

Next up: Anyone under 21 years of age will not be allowed to mow their parents lawn or the neighbors lawn. Lawn mowing is dangerous and kids need to be protected.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Remember folks, when the seat belt laws went into effect we were promised it would never be a ticketable offense, and trucks were exempt. hahahhahaahhhahhaha

guess_again 6 years ago

Yes, these pictures fill me with joyous and patriotic feelings about young Americans engaged in wonderful work activities as suggested by their parents:

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Knock knock the 1920s calling, they want their progressive back.

Katara 6 years ago

So what do you think the risk of dying from any of those chores were?

I'm willing to bet that farm "chores" are a lot more dangerous than your list.

Katara 6 years ago

It has nothing to do with how much they love their children. I have no idea why you would get that out of my post.

Have you read anything about farming accidents involving children? In every case, the parent thought nothing would happen and it did. There is a much higher incidence of children being maimed or killed on a farm than your standard suburban or city house.

Perhaps you simply just don't know anyone who was affected by a farm accident and the impact it has.

Katara 6 years ago

Hyperbole is the greatest thing EVAR!

Katara 6 years ago

I've clipped the coupons already. I've taught my children to be smart consumers and purchase what we need. I am sorry that you mistake a TLC show for the real world. I understand that they also air one actually called "Hoarders". Perhaps you should view it so you can understand the difference between stockpiling until the next sale so you don't pay full price & a horrible mental disorder that destroys people's lives.

Anyway, do you care to address my remarks or are you unable to?

Have you read anything about farming accidents involving children? Do you understand that there is a much higher incidence of accidents that main and even kill farm children? Do you know any farm families that have been affected by a child that was disabled or killed by a farm accident?

Katara 6 years ago

Oh I see. You can't address the fact that there is a far higher incidence of farm accidents that involve children. You can't address the fact that your list of chores is not even remotely a good comparison to farm work performed by children.

It has nothing to do with my view on the world. My view on this topic is based on the above facts. Your view is based on nothing but your memories of your childhood, which apparently was not one spent on a farm.

Since you are not one much for TV, I will assume that you are a reader. Perhaps you should pick up some literature on actual farm life. Please be sure to select non-fiction.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

From my reading of this thread, Jane, Katara has merely sought to engage you in discussion of the topic at hand. There's nothing either "passive-aggressive" or remotely demanding in any of her posts. Either engage her in discussion, or just drop it.

There's no need of throwing down an overly emotional gauntlet.

jafs 6 years ago

Yep - that seems to be very common these days - when people can't address the topic, they resort to emotional put downs.

Also, it's interesting that she discusses all of the things she had to do and hated, and concludes that parents teach their kids what it is to be a family. I suppose that's one version of a family, in which the kids are forced to do a bunch of things they hate by their parents.

Not my idea of a good, healthy family though.

jafs 6 years ago

Thanks for the clarification - I usually catch sarcasm, but missed it this time :-)

I don't find Katara passive aggressive, and I usually enjoy talking with her.

Have a great day!

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

It's called responsibility! Teens and young adults are being raised to be mamby pamby lazy and to be unproductive in society! Believing society owes them something. Take a look at the occupiers...that is what we end up with!

Katara 6 years ago

Yes. That is it. If we place limits on children from performing work in one of the more dangerous occupations in the nation, it will cause them to be spoiled and unproductive.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

I used to cut sassafras trees, oh my how it ruined many a Saturday. Feeding animals, oh my "dripping eye water" please help me, where's the nearest welfare office I got the PSDs or MTVs.

Used to get well paid for the sassafras even having to dig the roots, loved harvest times as well, could pick up serious pocket change. Instead of lifting weights like many high school football players we abused farm kids were exempt because we bucked hay.

In my late teens used to hear some great bands playing out in the country at a place called the Last Frontier. Yep even had us a couple of them pool tables too. Young folks from the many small towns would gather. I'd give a Lawrence anti growth liberal's left testicle to experience one of those fun nights again. Oh my how we felt so out of it. Not. Hunting, fishing, oh kinda stupid hobbies I guess.

I guess we should have been lernen hows to work one of them thar talkin microphones to take cheeseburger orders instead of driving a combine. Or, lets go Greenie how to trim fruit trees.

Katara 6 years ago

I'll bet you also wore an onion on your belt. Those were the days! You could get 5 bees to the quarter.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

"I'd give a Lawrence anti growth liberal's left testicle "

Did you run out of your own?

SnakeFist 6 years ago

I agree with all the regressives. Prepubescent children have to be made to work hazardous jobs or else they will never learn how to work and might even (gasp) go to college and become something more than a draft animal. But why stop with farm children? Think of how much better America would be if our young city girls and boys worked the streets!

Ironically, so many of the older generation who complain about the lack of work ethic in the younger generation are themselves sitting on their growing backsides collecting a government check evey month and contributing nothing to society.

jafs 6 years ago

I agree with your post generally.

But, I don't think it's fair to criticize those on Social Security, who worked their whole lives, and get a rather meager pension out of that, as if they haven't contributed enough yet.

verity 6 years ago

"Ironically, so many of the older generation who complain about the lack of work ethic in the younger generation are themselves sitting on their growing backsides collecting a government check evey month and contributing nothing to society."

With all due respect, that statement is just as bad as complaining about no work ethic in the younger generation. Many older people are not sitting around doing nothing. Among other things, I know many who are volunteering their time, even those who are have limitations on their physical ability, making possible things that would not be possible in any other way.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

Here is an interesting article regarding the rankings of danger for various occupations in the United States:

What I am hearing is that there are objections to restricting those under 16 years of age from doing the most dangerous jobs, within the 4th most dangerous occupation in the US.

As a youth, I started driving a tractor for a wage when I was 14, and was driving a grain truck at harvest time at 15. This is how I earned money during the summers to help pay for college.

I am happy for the experience, and am thankful that I did not kill or maim anyone, including myself, in the process.

Katara 6 years ago

It is interesting that some are predicting the downfall of our youth if they are not allowed to perform work in dangerous situations.

Why is it an all or nothing situation? Either they do work that can kill or maim then or they become good for nothing layabouts?

orhs1963 (anonymous) says… "So what are farm parents to do with their farm children?"

Really? Farm parents have no other options? What do you think parents who own other businesses subject to similar regulations do? There are quite a few other family-owned businesses who have regulations as to what children can and cannot do and they have managed to survive.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

My understanding is that parents still have an exemption from the new rules, and can still have their own children do this work--they are restricted from paying the children of others to do this work.

Did I miss something on this?

Katara 6 years ago

That is my understanding too. But don't tell the others. They are too busy waxing poetic about their own idyllic childhood on the farm.

I think the issue the article is trying to get across is that it applies to "paid" workers. So does that mean that the farm kids who get paid for doing this type of work are still exempt? I think the farming families are concerned with that. When is a child considered an employee and when is that child not considered an employee?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Try to think rural, your a 16 year old and now cannot hire on with a neighbor farmer during harvest.

Katara 6 years ago

There is no other employment available to rural youths? The only money making opportunity they have is doing farm work for the neighbor?

I think you are selling rural youth short here.

xclusive85 6 years ago

Katara, in my experience jobs can be limited. In the town I grew up in, there was one small grocery store, one gas station, and one restaurant. There were a total of 6 jobs available to youth in those jobs. There was nothing else for us to do except farm work. I don't know you, so I just have to make an assumption that you don't understand rural life. Yes, there is rural life just outside of places like Lawrence, but there are also many places in Kansas without a city even close to the size of Lawrence withing commuting distance.

Katara 6 years ago

And I don't doubt what you say, however, remember these are federal labor regulations, not state. Rural does not always mean isolated. And not all rural areas have the limitations that yours did.

It is funny that so many on here assume that rural life automatically means Kansas. I was not born and raised in Kansas. There are many other states that have rural areas and some are very close to suburban and even urban areas.

xclusive85 6 years ago

Ya, but we are mainly talking about how this affects the people of Kansas, since that is where we are at. Also, other states have rural areas that are as isolated or even moreso than where I grew up. The states of Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana and Idaho all come to mind. So, while I know that rural doesn't automatically mean Kansas or isolated, rural does include those areas.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

My understanding is that a 16 year old could still do this to the greater extent. The restrictions on 16 and 17 year old people are related to storing, marketing and transporting of farm-product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

Katara 6 years ago

And that sounds reasonable.

It really is no different than restrictions on other family-owned businesses.

For example, a family-owned deli is not allowed to have their under 18 year old child operate the meat and cheese slicers. They still can take orders and ring them up. They still can put together the sandwiches.

Just as a farm has tons of work, there is plenty to keep the kids very busy and out of trouble without putting them into a situation that can be dangerous for them.

jafs 6 years ago

That's my understanding as well.

It's a bit odd - it's ok to make your own kids do dangerous work without compensating them, but not ok to pay other people's kids to do the same work?

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

It is a bit odd. The regulations give exception for family farms, defined in the narrowest sense. My understanding is that they are primarily aimed at industrial farms that have previously employed young workers on a large scale.

An interesting article is located at

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

I prefer my children learn what it means to work hard and make a living! My children will most likely end up supporting your children..who have no idea what it means to work hard and support themselves!

Katara 6 years ago

And you can't teach that to children without them performing dangerous work?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Again LIbby, how many accident occur on the farm. Then how many in car accidents in good old Lawrence. Then take it one more, how many of our young precious youth die each night in cities?

Katara 6 years ago

Farming is considered the 4th most dangerous occupation in the United States. The deaths per 100,000 are almost double of those whose occupation consists of driving (truck/delivery driver).

Additionally, driving is restricted by age and one must pass the driving exams to obtain a license. You are not making a very good comparison here.

It is an odd argument that you are putting out there. Because accidents involving young people occur elsewhere, we shouldn't try to lessen them on the farm?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Where I came from, "Tractor Safety" was one of the sections of the "Farm Safety" classes that all of the 8th grade boys were required to take in school.

"Farm Safety" was a semester long class, and the other semester requirement was "Metal Shop", which included welding.

I don't think those classes are required in Lawrence!

jafs 6 years ago

A better way to teach them that would be to model it as the parent, and not force your kids to work for you, I'd say.

love2fish_ks 6 years ago

Disgusting. Totally out of control government and an all out attack on family farms.

I am so embarrassed that I voted for Barack.

Hillary Clinton - please come rescue us from blind loyalty to this clown.

verity 6 years ago

I skimmed over about half the comments here---then realized it was mostly a waste of time. Yes, as somebody mentioned above, way too many people commenting that have no idea what they're talking about on any level and wouldn't accept the truth if they were given it on a silver platter because they know what they want to believe.

I grew up on a farm and never felt, or knew anyone who felt that they were being abused or over worked, and the children in my family were paid for our work. Not saying that others weren't abused, just that was not my experience. My mother also received a salary from the farm for the work she did starting at least in the fifties---in those days farmwives worked their butts off to keep the household running and my father knew he couldn't get along without her.

However, I did a lot of things that were very dangerous as far as operating machinery at a very early age and riding on machinery, both in the field and on the road. Six years old is just way to young to be driving a tractor that you're not even strong enough to really control. I know way too many people (actually mostly adults) who were horribly injured or killed in farming accidents which could easily have been avoided, because farmers tend to be individualistic (which is one of the reasons why they persist in farming because it ain't the bed of roses or well-paying occupation some here seem to think) and too many think they don't need to follow rules or laws.

So, yes, children do need to be protected and I doubt that the laws will really have a negative effect on farmers if they are enforced. That said, who is going to enforce the laws? Where's the money to have the law enforcement checking up on farmers? I never saw any law enforcement anywhere near our farm when I was growing up, and I don't think it's much different now.

verity 6 years ago

Like I said--- way too many people commenting that have no idea what they're talking about on any level.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Yes, I noticed that too. It seems that very few of us farming and ranching boys have commented on this thread.

verity 6 years ago

I'm not, or ever was, a boy---however I thought that my father thought I was and I wasn't going to disabuse him of the fact because boys got to do a lot more. : )

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

Wow, verity! I sure didn't know there was a song about you! Or that you were so good looking either!

verity 6 years ago

Good laugh for a Sunday afternoon!

But I would have been the one driving the tractor and throwing bales and my father and/or brothers would have run off any guy who acted like that. Besides, most of the farmer's daughters that I knew made vows not to marry a farmer. Nor did we wear frilly white dresses.

Oh, and I might have been that good looking, but I was blond.

verity 6 years ago

PS---no self-respecting real farmer would drive a sissy-a$$ tractor like the one in the video. Couldn't they find a real tractor in Hollywood?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

If they had found one, then they would have needed to have a talent search to find someone that knew how to drive it.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

verity: I suspect that there will not be a new wave of "enforcement police" for the new regulations. Enforcement will come in the form of a whole lot of questions being asked when an injured person shows up at the emergency room after a farm related accident occurs.

I have not been able to find anything to support this, but my current theory is that the insurance industry has lobbied for these changes. It appears that an insurance company could go after a farmer for damages if if the company had to pay a claim for someone who was working in violation of the new regulations.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago on all points.

Katara 6 years ago

An insurance company can go after a farmer for damages currently if it is shown to be a result of negligent behavior. I am not sure if these new regulations would really increase the insurance companies' ability to pursue damages.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

Agreed that they can already go after someone who is negligent. The new regs would create a "bright line" which, when crossed by a farmer, could not be defended if an accident occurred.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

It is safer for an urban mother to enlist her child in the army than let them roam the city. Think about this, how many 20 somethings died in Afghanistan this week. How many in Chicago?

Katara 6 years ago

And again, this is such a strange argument. Because young folks die elsewhere, we should do nothing to lessen the chance of fatalities on the farm?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

katara, because kids are not dying on the farm. How about we stop football and basketball, no talk about injuries.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

At the age of 18, a person is considered emancipated and can make those sorts of employment decisions. They can also vote. The child labor laws being discussed primarily apply to those under 16, and somewhat to those 16 and 17.

verity 6 years ago

This is not an either/or, liberal/conservative thing. I get disgusted when some posters try to make everything into a battle between liberal/progressives and conservatives. And when they have their heads up their you-know-what, they think sarcasm or just flinging stuff somehow makes them appear smart. Some people actually hold views that are liberal and others that are conservative---a lot of people I know do. I think that may be called pragmatic. But I digress.

Probably the worst danger now in farming is not machinery or falling into a bin or silo of grain---which contrary to some of the ignorance shown by posters, is very dangerous and happens. (Hint: grain is like quicksand).

Farmers have been using extremely dangerous chemicals. If you google "studies linking farmer cancer to chemicals" you will find some interesting studies.

Katara 6 years ago

Thanks for pointing that our, verity. I was thinking of more immediate type of accidents rather than things that can cause harm with long-term exposure.

I guess it is because the news carries more reports of horrific farm accidents (someone being mangled by farm equipment or killed by an animal) that we forget of the other dangers that people can be subject to by their employment.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.............verity, prove it. How many kids had surgery from playing football this year compared to farm workers?

I can not think of one farm accident involving a youth this year, can you. I can certainly tell you many many many athletic injuries, even the beloved KU Jaybirds teams.

Katara 6 years ago

You are very persistent in this strange argument. It is really very bizarre thinking.

So because sports players get injuries, we should do nothing to reduce injuries on farms?

Will you be satisfied with the tragic deaths of these farm children?

"Authorities say a 14-year-old boy has died following a farming accident in Sanilac County. The Times Herald of Port Huron reports that Ben Troyer was operating a feed grinder Thursday in Maple Valley Township when he got caught in a belt-and-pulley system."

"At 3:39 p.m. Saturday, sheriff’s officers responded to the 700 block of NW 100th Avenue in northwest Barton County, where the boy had been run over by a tractor and was pronounced dead at the scene."

"An 11-year-old boy has died in a farm accident in north-central South Dakota.

The Aberdeen American News reports that Christen Wollman of rural McPherson County died Tuesday evening.

McPherson County Sheriff Dave Ackerman says the boy was trying to climb onto the steps of a combine while it was running, but slipped and was run over."

Are you going to pooh-pooh these avoidable deaths because someone else died played sports or driving a car or whatever other activity out there? Are you seriously suggesting that because other youths die, that nothing should be done to prevent horrible deaths as those 3 children suffered?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

We are a nation of over 300 million............

If we really cared about children and safety we would not be searching the leading agricultural nation in the entire world for a few accidents which fortunately happen rarely.

We are seriously considering changing the family structure of farming because of statistically tiny number? For what reason. Well, we haven't changed the laws in decades, so let's change them now.

How about loosening up some laws. How's that sound?

As some ER staff how many youth farm accidents they treat per day, then ask if the following are problems.

Football, soccer, motorcycles, bathtubs, goofy kids trying to be superman jumping off roofs, swimming, drugs sitting 12 hours per day playing video games, diving boards, skate boards, angry get the drift.

Katara 6 years ago

This is still such bizarre logic. Because injuries and deaths occur elsewhere, we should do nothing to decrease those things on the farm.

These regulations are not changing the family structure of farming. They are simply restricting the type of work that kids under 16 perform and places some limitations on 16-17 year olds. It is no different than any other family-owned business.

You want to talk about "liberals" claiming the sky is falling? You are very much doing that yourself. We're losing freedoms because a 14 year old can't ride on a combine? We're losing freedoms because a 12 year can't castrate pigs and clip their teeth?

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Katara, So because sports players get injuries.................. Not only injuries, but young football players die too.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

BTW......again, we are nation of over 300 million, if you put us in a Bunny Hop line it would stretch to Mars. (I made this up)


Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries (Tinsworth 2001). Occurrence and Consequences

About 45% of playground-related injuries are severe–fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations (Tinsworth 2001).
About 75% of nonfatal injuries related to playground equipment occur on public playgrounds (Tinsworth 2001). Most occur at schools and daycare centers (Phelan 2001).
Between 1990 and 2000, 147 children ages 14 and younger died from playground-related injuries. Of them, 82 (56%) died from strangulation and 31 (20%) died from falls to the playground surface. Most of these deaths (70%) occurred on home playgrounds (Tinsworth 2001).

Think I'd take my chances on the farm.

progressive_thinker 6 years ago

This is hardly an apples to apples comparison. There is no control for the number of participants in each of the activities being compared, nor of the time spent by each participant engaged in each of the activities. From my perspective, it is pretty clear that the number of those participating in farming is likely quite a bit smaller than the number playing on a playground. Accordingly, there is not a fair basis for comparison.

That said, you are of course welcome to accept whatever it is that you care to as it regards yourself, your family, and your family farm.

From my perspective, [yes, one who spent his youth farming-handing], the new regulations are quite reasonable.

verity 6 years ago

What is it you want me to prove?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

If you travel to the St. Francis hospital in Topeka oncology center (that's where cancer patients get their chemo treatments), and have a discussion with one of the oncologists that treats cancer patients every day about how cancer cases are geographically distributed around the state, you'll hear something interesting.

(Actually, you'll probably hear the same thing at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, but I don't personally know any cancer patients there.)

The physician that specializes in cancer will immediately will begin a discussion about what cancer specialists call "hot spots", that is, geographical locations where the incidence of breast cancer is so high that it defies all odds.

It's rather strange that all of the "hot spots" anywhere around here are in small farming communities.

And of course, it's only a coincidence that the "hottest hot spots" are all in small towns surrounded by fields where agricultural chemicals are sprayed from the air.

I know this because a very good friend of mine is an oncology patient at the St. Francis hospital, and you know? Considering that the town has only about 1,500 citizens, the number of women that have developed breast cancer there is staggering.

(And just think, out of that population of about 1,500, only about half of them are women.)

xclusive85 6 years ago

While I won't argue that the chemicals may have something to do with the cancer, there may be other factors that lead to a hotspot like that as well. We all know that there is a genetic component to cancer risk. How many of the people in a town of 1,500 are related? I know that a majority of the people in the county that I grew up in in western Kansas were related. However, an urban setting gives a much lower chance that people will share a genetic predisposition of cancer risk.

verity 6 years ago

You're really stretching on this one. We're not just talking about one or a few small communities or only about what's happening at St Francis/Topeka.

"Researchers believe chemicals and pesticides are to blame for the increased breast cancer rates in female farm workers. Some pesticides and farm chemicals are carcinogens, while others mimic estrogen. Chemicals that mimic estrogen are linked to cancer and other diseases, particularly if exposure occurred during childhood. Many of the women in the study group said they helped out on family farms at young ages."

I could go on and on, but google "studies linking farmer cancer to chemicals " for yourself.

xclusive85 6 years ago

I said I wasn't going to argue the factual statement that chemicals and pesticides were partially to blame for the prevalance of cancer. But, like I said, they are not the only factors. Again, just for you, I wasn't debating that at all, just offering another reason why hotspots tend to show up.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

gandalf, bye bye freedom, when a lib says how many, it won't matter, it's the children, watch out.

verity 6 years ago

Gandalf, you are right on the money. I doubt that these new laws will make much difference on the family farm, except to maybe make some people think before they put a young child on a tractor or in any position they are not mature or big enough to handle.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

What an insult to farm parents. Not sure these are the people who let kids roam all hours of the night, or allow drugs in the home.

verity 6 years ago

If you think that is an insult, so be it. I know from experience that it is true.

As Katara has pointed out, you are making some very strange arguments that don't really address the issue.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

Mind your own business Katara! 'working' on the farm is not actual work! It's a life lesson and teaches these young kids responsibility so that they can grow to be productive adults to care and support your pansy kids! The regulations are not needed period! Stay out of our lives!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

I used to do farm work when I was a kid. My memory of it was that it was pretty damn hard work (especially putting up hay.)

Katara 6 years ago

Working on the farm is work. These are not just chores. Dusting the knick knacks and washing dishes are chores. Branding steers is work. Operating heavy machinery is work.

I find it odd that you believe apparently that the only way a child can learn hard work and responsibility is to perform work that puts them at a higher risk of injury or death. Are you not a creative enough parent to figure out other ways of teaching your children these lessons without that higher risk?

I think you exemplify perfectly what verity has said in her posts.

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

Or we could return to the slave shops in the industrial revolution.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

We have those already. They are located in China and other less developed nations that supply us with things to buy at Walmart.

verity 6 years ago

When the incessantly blathering blowhards start yelling that the liberals are saying the sky is falling and no one has even remotely suggested that, we know that they have nothing but rage at something---who knows what.

That these laws will keep farm kids from becoming responsible adults is Chicken Little and I call all of you, whatever you are, on that piece of fiction. There will still be plenty to do that is perfectly legal. As Gandalf states above, this law is probably aimed mostly at migrant workers.

As somebody who currently lives on a farm told me recently---they never told us how dangerous these chemicals we're using are. While I have seen and lived with the results of farm accidents which did not need to happen, it's the chemicals that worry me even more.

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

Oh my I forgot about the anti rural feeling here.

I must remember you birds were the ones swallowing the story about the KU prof who was followed by a roaming gang of young right wing Ford pickup driving flannel shirt wearing Christians pancake breakfast eating help your neighbor types. Oh the horror.

If memory serves they finally caught the good prof in the wee hours and jumped him on a lonely rural road. Beat him up pretty good too. Never caught the ruthless gang either.

Now some picture 1900 era slum lords instead of the great American farmers who feed us. Take a drive and introduce yourself to some of these folks, see if this doesn't change your mind. Best people on Earth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Your previous line of irrelevancies failed, so you dredge up a new one.


Katara 6 years ago

You honestly believe that this is anti-rural?

So I guess that restricting driving to those over 16 & with valid licenses is anti-driving?

That restricting the type of machinery a teenage construction worker can use is anti-growth?

That restricting the type of food equipment a teen can operate in a restaurant is anti-cooking?

What bizarre arguments!

You are the ones insulting farm families here.

Are you really going to lead us to believe that the family farm is going to go belly up if their under 16 aged children don't perform dangerous farm work?

Do you honestly believe that family farmers have absolutely no choice in hiring other kids for that work or using their own children (which BTW, if you bothered to RTFA, would tell you that children working on their parents' farms are exempt) or they will be unable to continue the family business?

Are farmers that helpless? I've always been led to believe that farmers are pretty independent and here you are telling us otherwise.

You claim that people on here are screaming about the sky falling but you are the only one predicting doom for the family farms if some kids are restricted in the type of paid work they perform.

And WTH with the story about a KU professor? What on earth does that have to do with regulations that restrict the type of paid work that teenagers can perform on the farm?

More and more, your posts on the family farmer remind me of those who fully engaged in the belief of the "Noble Savage".

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

no bozo, many of you do not know more than than the end of your nose. You have not a clue, and the KU prof was a great example. I had many goofy KU prof loving folks telling me the rural areas were full of these type youths. Seriously, gangs. I live rural and there are more Obama supporters out here than one would believe.

Stay out of things you do not know, do not legislate things you do not know, make laws from common sense not from emotions. Boy hurt on tractor bad. How about the city youths are given a new lease on life by being taken in by caring rural folks? You notice they don't take the wonderful underprivileged kids to the Hy Vee to make them feel good.

This chat has gone to rural parents are fools. Far far far from the truth. Leave the family farm alone, these folks have enough problems without more paperwork and fear.

We are already competing with nations agriculturally who laugh at our legal nonsense. Of course Bozo you know exactly where your food items come from. Could be the next french fry could be from Argentina, and the Idaho family who used to raise potatoes is on government assistance.

Oldsoul 6 years ago

If the government wants to protect Kansan children from their own parents they sure the heck would do well to enact a prohibition against all the wackos in this state who love to approach strangers and scare the bejesus out of them. Dumb , uneducated people hardly inspire trust or confidence in others, and most people would just prefer to be kindly let alone by those they likely have little in common with.

I'm all for courtesy, but not for dealing with those who get way too personal in the name of mindless and self-flattering chivalry. It's insulting and demeaning to anyone who is halfway politically aware. Lawrence is a poorly planned town to begin with, but to have to deal with aggressive, molesting strangers every time one steps off her door stoop just makes the place completely unlivable.

headdoctor 6 years ago

Reading this thread sure lends credibility to the effect on certain people when the moon is waxing full. It has been a while since I have seen this much bull pucky in one place.

Katara 6 years ago

You must have been one of the farm kids that had to dig a manure pit. :)

Scott Morgan 6 years ago

headMD, you are so full of it the stuff is coming out your pie hole. Pie = fruit grown on the farm, flour = wheat something Kansans have been exporting since fido was a pup. Butter made from dairy farms.

Nothing is needed in protecting farm workers beyond the billions of laws already out there. I can tell by your ignorance you haven't owned anything more important than a college book or game controller.

Laws passed which sound good in NY or Washington have severe effects here where the grain hits the silo.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.