|00:00:00||I CERTAINLY SHARE THE GENUINE CONCERN EXPRESSED BY THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.|
|00:00:05||FARMERS HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO CONCERN THEMSELVES WITH IN THE ABILITY TO EARN A LIVING.|
|00:00:12||THE WEATHER IS NOT ALWAYS THEIR FRIEND.|
|00:00:16||WAS THIS THE RIGHT CROP TO GROW.|
|00:00:18||WHAT ARE MARKET CONDITIONS GOING TO BE?|
|00:00:19||HOW TO PREDICT?|
|00:00:21||HOW DO WE HAVE RISK MANAGEMENT?|
|00:00:23||AND ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THROUGH ITS REGULATORY AGENCIES AND DEPARTMENTS IS GOING TO DO THAT CREATES ONE MORE IMPEDIMENT TOWARD THE SUCCESS OF FARMS AND RANCHES ACROSS OUR NATION.|
|00:00:35||AND NOW ALWAYS WE'VE WORRIED ABOUT THE THINGS THAT RELATED, THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.|
|00:00:42||AND NOW COMES THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WITH A PROPOSED SET OF RULES THAT WILL FUNDAMENTALLY ALTER THE NATURE OF FARMING AND RANCHING.|
|00:00:51||THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA SAID IT WELL WHEN HE SAID THAT INHERENTLY AGRICULTURE, FARMERS AND RANCHERS, IT'S A FAMILY OPERATION.|
|00:00:59||THAT'S CERTAINLY THE WAY IT IS ACROSS THE STATE OF KANSAS AND ACROSS THE RURAL PORTIONS OF AMERICA TODAY.|
|00:01:04||I'VE ALWAYS BEEN AN ADVOCATE FOR THE SUCCESS OF FARMERS AND RANCHERS DURING MY TIME AS A MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOW IN THE SENATE.|
|00:01:14||CERTAINLY PART OF THAT IS THE ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF AGRICULTURE DETERMINES THE ABILITY FOR COMMUNITIES ACROSS MY STATE TO SURVIVE AND TO PROSPER AND TO BRING ANOTHER GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE BACK TO RURAL COMMUNITIES, BACK TO THE RURAL PART OF AMERICA.|
|00:01:28||BUT THERE'S ALSO SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL ABOUT AGRICULTURE.|
|00:01:31||IT IS THE WAY THAT HISTORICALLY IN OUR NATION, IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TRANSMIT OUR CHARACTER, OUR VALUES, OUR INTEGRITY FROM ONE GENERATION TO THE NEXT.|
|00:01:44||IT'S ONE OF THE FEW PROFESSIONALS LEFT -- PROFESSIONS LEFT IN WHICH SONS AND DAUGHTERS WORK SIDE BY SIDE WITH MOMS AND DADS, WITH GRANDPARENTS AND HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY ON AN ONGOING DAILY BASIS TO WORK SIDE BY SIDE, TO LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IN LIFE, ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND THAT YOU CAN'T PLAN YOUR DAY BASED UPON YOUR OWN PREFERENCES.|
|00:02:08||THERE ARE CATTLE TO BE FED.|
|00:02:10||THERE'S CROPS TO BE HARVESTED.|
|00:02:12||THAT THERE'S SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT IN LIFE THAN JUST WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.|
|00:02:15||THIS IS, AGAIN, A WAY THAT WE LIVE OUR LIVES.|
|00:02:18||AND IN THE PROCESS OF LIVING THIS KIND OF LIFE, WE PASS ON THINGS THAT ARE SO IMPORTANT TO THE CHARACTER OF CERTAINLY THE INDIVIDUAL, BUT OVER THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION THE CHARACTER OF WHO WE ARE AS AMERICANS HAS BEEN MOLDED BY THE FACT THAT AGRICULTURE, FARMERS AND RANCHERS HAVE PLAYED SUCH AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT IN THE WAY THAT AMERICANS HAVE LIVED THEIR LIVES.|
|00:02:40||THE REGULATIONS THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT -- AND I'M WORRIED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IN ANNOUNCING THAT JUST A FEW DAYS AGO THAT THEY'RE GOING TO REPROPOSE A PORTION OF THE RULE, I'M WORRIED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS HOPING THAT AMERICANS, THAT FARMERS AND RANCHERS, THAT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS LOOK THE OTHER WAY, THAT THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT TO CHANGE THE ONEROUS NATURE OF THE RULES THAT ARE PROPOSED.|
|00:03:08||AND WHILE THEY ARE, HAVE AGREED TO REPROPOSE A PORTION OF THE RULE RELATED TO THE DEFINITION OF FAMILY FARMS, WHAT REMAINS IS TOO -- TWO SIGNIFICANT COMPONENTS FORTUNATE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES, THAT WE PASS ON TO THE NEXT GENERATION THOSE CHARACTERISTICS WE DESIRE SO MUCH AND THAT WE WILL LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENTICE A YOUNG PERSON TO DECIDE THAT AGRICULTURE IS THEIR MEANS OF EARNING A LIVING AS THEY GROW OLDER.|
|00:03:39||YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCE AS A CHILD TO LEARN WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR YOU.|
|00:03:44||STUDENTS WHO BECOME TEACHERS HAVE BEEN ENTHUSED ABOUT BECOMING A TEACHER BECAUSE OF AN EXPERIENCE IN A CLASSROOM.|
|00:03:50||IT WORKS THE SAME WAY ON A FARM IN KANSAS OR SOUTH DAKOTA OR IN ARKANSAS.|
|00:03:56||IT'S THE EXPERIENCE THAT THAT CHILD HAS, THAT YOUNG PERSON HAS IN WORKING WITH THEIR FAMILIES, WITH NEIGHBORING FARMERS THAT CAUSES THEM TO THINK I DO, WHEN I GROW UP, WHAT I WANT TO BE IS WORKING HERE ON THIS FAMILY FARM.|
|00:04:09||I WANT TO EARN MY LIVING IN AGRICULTURE.|
|00:04:13||AND SO THE RULE, WHILE BEING, A PORTION OF IT BEING REPROPOSED, DON'T TAKE YOUR EYE OFF OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE REMAINDER OF THE RULE, EVEN IF WE GOT A GOOD DEFINITION OF A FAMILY FARM IN THE REPROPOSED RULE.|
|00:04:28||WHAT REMAINS IS REPLACING THE THINGS THAT HAVE A TIME-HONORED TRADITION AND SUCCESS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES IN AGRICULTURE, IN EDUCATING OUR KIDS.|
|00:04:43||A.A., 4-H, COUNTY EXTENSION.|
|00:04:44||THOSE THINGS ARE BEING REPLACED, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS GOING TO BECOME THE DECIDER OF WHETHER OR NOT AN INDIVIDUAL YOUNG PERSON HAS THE CAPABILITIES TO WORK ON A FAMILY FARM.|
|00:04:55||THE DEPARTMENT SAYS THAT THOSE THINGS -- F.|
|00:05:01||A.A., 4-H, COUNTY EXTENSION -- ARE TOO LOCAL AND WE HAVE TO HAVE A NATIONALLY DRIVEN POLICY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO DECIDE HOW WE EDUCATE AND TRAIN AND MAKE CERTAIN THAT WE HAVE SAFETY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WORKING ON FARMS.|
|00:05:12||THE OTHER PART OF THE RULE THAT REMAINS, THE PROPOSED RULE THAT REMAINS, IT'S NOT INVOLVED IN ANY NEW MODIFICATION, WORKING ITS WAY THROUGH THE PROCESS AND WE EXPECT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO ANNOUNCE IN A FEW MONTHS THEIR FINAL RULE, THE OTHER PART THAT REMAINS IS THE DEFINITION OF FARMING PRACTICES THAT EVEN IF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DETERMINES THAT THIS YOUNG PERSON HAS THE RIGHT SAFETY CREDENTIALS TO WORK ON THE FARM, THESE THINGS ARE STILL PROHIBITED.|
|00:05:38||THEPBGZ LIKE WORKING -- THINGS LIKE WORKING SIX FEET OFF THE GROUND.|
|00:05:43||SIX FEET OFF THE GROUND IS NOW WHERE YOU ARE WHEN YOU'RE IN A TRACTOR, WHEN YOU'RE IN A COMBINE.|
|00:05:49||SO WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS DOING IS TAKING AWAY A WHOLE SEGMENT OF THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE FARM.|
|00:05:57||CAN'T WORK WITH A WHEELBARROW AND A SHOVEL TO CLEAN OUT A STALL.|
|00:06:01||CAN'T HERD CATTLE.|
|00:06:02||IN FACT, THE REGULATION, THE PROPOSED REGULATION SAYS THAT YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY THAT INFLICTS PAIN UPON THE ANIMAL.|
|00:06:13||THOSE ARE THINGS THAT ARE PRETTY IMPORTANT, LIKE BRANDING AND BREEDING AND DEHORNING AND VACCINATING.|
|00:06:19||CERTAINLY YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS KANSAS AND SOUTH DAKOTA HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THOSE THINGS TODAY AND TO TAKE THEM AWAY DIMINISHES THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM IN EARNING A LIVING AND SAVING MONEY FOR THEIR FUTURE, BUT ALSO TAKES AWAY THOSE OTHER INVALUABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF WORKING SIDE BY SIDE WITH FARMERS WHO KNOW THE REAL MEANING OF LIFE, WITH MOMS AND DADS, WITH GRANDPARENTS, WITH NEIGHBORS.|
|00:06:42||A SOPBD, MR.|
|00:06:43||PRESIDENT, I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE -- AND SO, MR.|
|00:06:47||PRESIDENT, I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA AND THE SENTIMENTS HE EXPRESSED, ANOTHER EXAMPLE TO SHOW THE OVERREACH OF THESE REGULATIONS, ONE OF THE PROPOSALS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SOUGHT COMMENTS ON WHETHER WE SHOULD LIMIT THE EXPOSURE OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT IF THE TEMPERATURE REACHES A CERTAIN LIMIT ONCE YOU FACTOR IN WIND VELOCITY AND HUMIDITY.|
|00:07:07||HOW IS A FARMER GOING TO MAKE A DECISION UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES WHETHER OR NOT THIS YOUNG PERSON CAN WORK ON THE FARM BASED UPON DAYLIGHT, HUMIDITY, TEMPERATURE.|
|00:07:18||WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HIRE A METEOROLOGIST TO MAKE A DETERMINATION WHETHER THAT DAY IT'S OKAY FOR A 15-YEAR-OLD TO BE WORKING ON THE FARM.|
|00:07:27||I'VE INVITED THE SECRETARY OF LABOR TO COME TO KANSAS TO EXPERIENCE FARM LIFE.|
|00:07:32||THAT INVITATION WAS NOT ACCEPTED AND I DON'T BEGRUDGE THE SECRETARY OF THAT.|
|00:07:37||THAT'S A -- IT'S NOT EXPECTED NECESSARILY THAT THE SECRETARY OF LABOR WOULD COME TO MY STATE AND VISIT WITH FARMERS ALTHOUGH WE'D LOVE TO TELL HER THE STORY.|
|00:07:46||WE ASKED FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF LABOR AND THAT -- HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.|
|00:07:51||C. AND I WAS HAPPY TO GO TO HER OFFICE.|
|00:07:53||THAT ALSO WAS DENIED.|
|00:07:54||AND AS THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA INDICATES, A LETTER OF 30 MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS -- IT WASN'T A PARTISAN ISSUE -- SENATOR NELSON FROM NEBRASKA WAS MY COLLEAGUE IN ASKING THE DEPARTMENT TO EXTEND THE COMMENT PERIOD SO THAT FARMERS DURING FALL HARVEST WOULD HAVE A GREATER OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT ON THIS RULE.|
|00:08:13||IT WAS A BIPARTISAN LETTER ASKING FOR CERTAIN INFORMATION.|
|00:08:19||AND WE LEARNED AGAIN THIS WEEK THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THAT LETTER FROM 30 SENATORS -- I DON'T MEAN THAT IN AN ARROGANT WAY BUT WE REPRESENT CONSTITUENTS WHO HAVE SERIOUS CONCERNS WITH A LEG A REGULATION THAT WE BELIEVE WILL FUNDAMENTALLY ALTER THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES IN AGRICULTURE, AND THE ANSWER WAS, WE'RE GOING TO TREAT THAT JUST LIKE ANY OTHER LETTER.|
|00:08:40||THAT MEANS WE'RE GOING TO SEND YOU A FORM LETTER.|
|00:08:45||REALLY TELLING I WOULD GUESS NOT MUCH OF ANYTHING AND CERTAINLY NOT ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS.|
|00:08:50||WE'VE ASKED FOLKS AACROSS THE COUNTRY TO TAKE A LOOK AT A WEB SITE,KEEPFAMILIESFARMING.|
|00:08:59||COM AND WE'RE SOLICITING FOLKS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO WE CAN SUBMIT THESE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND MAKE THE CASE KNOWN.|
|00:09:05||AND WE WOULD ASK THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ISSUE, TO RISE UP AND EXPRESS THEIR CONCERN AND TELL THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, TELL THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THE TREMENDOUS CONSEQUENCES OF A REGULATION THAT CHANGES SOMETHING THAT IS SO IMPORTANT TO THE CHARACTER OF RURAL AMERICA AND THE CHARACTER OF OUR COUNTRY NATIONWIDE.|
|00:09:27||I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THE SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA AND WOULD -- A SENATOR:MR.|
|00:09:35||THUNE: WOULD THE SENATOR YIELD ON THAT POINT?|
|00:09:38||WHAT YOU HAVE TOUCHED UPON IS SOMETHING I THINK PERHAPS PEOPLE WHO DON'T COME FROM FARM COUNTRY APPRECIATE AS MUCH AS WE DO AND THAT IS JUST THE VERY NATURE OF FARMING.|
|00:09:46||FARMING IS, AS WE SAID, IT'S VERY MUCH A FAMILY OPERATION.|
|00:09:50||AND WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW WITH THESE REGULATIONS IS AT A TIME WE'VE GOT YOUNG PEOPLE WHO, ONE, NEED THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN RESPONSIBILITY, WHO NEED TO LEARN THE VALUE OF HARD WORK AND ALSO, FOR THAT MATTER, NEED TO EARN A LITTLE EXTRA SPENDING MONEY, THIS REGULATION WOULD RESTRICT THEIR ABILITY TO DO ALL THREE.|
|00:10:12||AND IT WOULD BE REALLY, REALLY BAD FOR FAMILY FARMING AND RANCH NOT GUILTY THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA.|
|00:10:18||I KNOW THAT.|
|00:10:19||AND IT'S ALSO A REGULATION WHICH I WOULD SAY I DON'T THINK HAS GOTTEN AS MUCH ATTENTION PERHAPS AS SOME OF THE OTHER ONES THAT ARE OUT THERE BUT ONE THAT WOULD HAVE A PROFOUND CONSEQUENCE ON PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE.|
|00:10:29||AND YOU -- YOU MENTIONED A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES OF OPERATING FARM EQUIPMENT.|
|00:10:34||IF YOU'RE IN A TRACTOR, YOU'RE PROBABLY IN MOST CASES GOING TO BE HIGHER THAN SIX FEET AND THIS PREVENTS YOU FROM OPERATING -- DOING THINGS AT ELEVATIONS HIGHER THAN SIX FEET.|
|00:10:43||ALSO, YOU COULD ARGUE, I THINK, PROBABLY SOME OTHER THINGS THAT WOULD FALL UNDER THAT CATEGORY.|
|00:10:46||HOW ABOUT WORK ON A HAYSTACK?|
|00:10:48||YOU KNOW, YOU'RE GOING TO BE -- YOU'RE GOING TO BE MORE THAN SIX FEET ABOVE THE GROUND.|
|00:10:53||AND SOME OF THE RESTRICTIONS WITH REGARD TO WORKING WITH ANIMALS THAT ARE MORE THAN SIX MONTHS OLD.|
|00:10:58||AS YOU MENTIONED, BEING ABLE TO HERD CATTLE FROM THE BACK OF A HORSE.|
|00:11:01||I MEAN, THOSE ARE ALL THINGS THAT UNDER THESE REGULATIONS WOULD BE RESTRICTED OR PREVENTED FOR MANY OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE.|
|00:11:08||AND IT SEEMS PRETTY AMAZING, REALLY, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A WASHINGTON BUREAUCRACY DICTATING WITH -- WITH THIS KIND OF SPECIFICITY, THIS KIND OF MINUTIA, HOW FARM AND RANCH OPERATIONS CAN BE CONDUCTED.|
|00:11:24||I WOULD ARGUE THAT THE VERY ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU MENTIONED, 4-H, F.|
|00:11:29||F.A., EXTENSION SERVICE, KNOW FULL WELL, AND THE FAMILIES WHO OPERATE FARMS KNOW FULL WELL WHAT THE RISKS ARE.|
|00:11:36||THEY WANT TO PROTECT THEIR -- THEIR FAMILIES.|
|00:11:38||AND INSTEAD YOU'VE GOT A WASHINGTON BUREAUCRACY WHO THINKS THAT IT KNOWS BEST TELLING FAMILY FARMS, RANCHES HOW TO GO ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS IN A WAY THAT WILL MAKE IT NOT ONLY MORE DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO MAKE A LIVING BUT ALSO I THINK MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEARN THAT -- THE SKILLS AND GET THE EXPERIENCE THEY NEED WHEN HOPEFULLY THAT TIME COMES AROUND THAT THEY CAN TAKE OVER THAT OPERATION.|
|00:12:01||FARMING, RANCHING IN -- IN KANSAS, AS IT IS IN SOUTH DAKOTA, IS VERY MUCH AN INTERGENERATIONAL OCCUPATION AND IT'S MORE THAN JUST AN OCCUPATION.|
|00:12:10||IT'S MORE THAN JUST A VOCATION.|
|00:12:11||IT IS A WAY OF LIFE.|
|00:12:12||IT IS SOMETHING THAT WHERE VALUES ARE TRANSMITTED FROM ONE GENERATION TO ANOTHER, VALUES OF HARD WORK, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, YOU KNOW, JUST THE INTEGRITY, THE HONESTY, THE THE -- THE -- THERE'S JUST SO MANY CHARACTER QUALITIES THAT WE VALUE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE LEARN IN -- ON FAMILY FARMS AND RANCHES.|
|00:12:34||AND SO NOTWITHSTANDING THE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON FAMILY FARMS AND RANCHES, CERTAINLY THE CULTURAL, SOCIAL IMPACT ON OUR FAMILY FARMS AND RANCHES IN THE -- IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS COUNTRY IS TREMENDOUSLY IMPACTED BY THESE REGULATIONS.|
|00:12:48||AND SO I WOULD -- I HOPE THAT THE SENATOR FROM KANSAS WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP THE HEAT ON AND CONTINUE TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON TRYING TO GET A RESPONSE NOT ONLY TO THE LETTER THAT HE AUTHORED AND THAT MANY OF US SIGNED BUT ALSO TO, IF POSSIBLE, GET THE SECRETARY OF LABOR TO COME TO A STATE LIKE KANSAS OR, FOR THAT MATTER, SOUTH DAKOTA AND ACTUALLY SEE A FAMILY FARM OPERATION AND HOW IT FUNCTIONS, BECAUSE I THINK THEY ARE OPERATING IN A -- IN A BUBBLE AND IN A VACUUM OUT HERE WHERE THERE IS VERY LITTLE UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TYPES OF DECISIONS.|
|00:13:19||AND IT REALLY IS AN EXAMPLE OF BIG GOVERNMENT RUN AMOK.|
|00:13:22||YOU WANT -- YOU WANT AN EXAMPLE OF BIG GOVERNMENT THAT HAS COMPLETELY LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY, THIS IS CERTAINLY AN EXAMPLE OF THAT.|
|00:13:28||SO I ENCOURAGE THE SENATOR FROM KANSAS, I WILL SUPPORT HIS EFFORTS 100% IN KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON TO TRY AND GET THEM TO RECOGNIZE WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND THE IMPACT THAT IT WOULD HAVE UPON AMERICAN AGRICULTURE AND OUR ABILITY TO FEED THE WORLD.|
Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I share the genuine concern expressed by the Senator from South Dakota. Farmers have so many things to concern themselves with in the ability to earn a living. The weather is not always their friend. Is this the right crop to grow? What are market conditions going to be? How do we predict? How do we have risk management? And always concerned about what the Federal Government, through its regulatory agencies and departments, is going to do, to create one more impediment toward the success of farms and ranches across our Nation, to always be worried about the issues related to the Environmental Protection Agency. And now comes the Department of Labor with a proposed set of rules that will fundamentally alter the nature of farming and ranching.
The Senator from South Dakota said it well when he said that inherently agriculture, farming and ranching, is a family operation, and that is certainly the way it is across the State of Kansas and across the rural portions of America today. I have always been an advocate for the success of farmers and ranchers during my time as a Member of the House of Representatives and now in the Senate. Certainly part of that is the economic viability of that is agriculture determines the ability for communities across my State to survive and to prosper and to bring another generation of young people back to rural communities, back to the rural part of America. But there is also something very special about agriculture. It is the way that historically in our Nation, in the history of our country, we have been able to transmit our character, our values, our integrity from one generation to the next. It is one of the few professions left in which sons and daughters work side by side with moms and dads, with grandparents, and have that opportunity on an ongoing daily basis to work, to learn something about what is important in life, about personal responsibility, and that you cannot plan your day based upon your own preferences; there are cattle to be fed; there are crops to be harvested; that there is something more important in life than just what you want to do.
Again, this is the way we live our lives. In the process of living this kind of life, we pass on things that are so important to the character of the individual, and over the history of our Nation, the character of who we are as Americans has been molded by the fact that agriculture, farmers and ranchers, have played such an important component in the way Americans have lived their lives.
The Department of Labor announced a few days ago that they are going to repropose a portion of the rule and that they are hoping Americans, farmers and ranchers, Members of Congress look the other way, that they are doing something significant to change the onerous nature of the rules that are proposed. While they have agreed to repropose a portion of the rule related to the definition of family farms, there remain are two significant components important to the way we live our lives--that we pass on to the next generation those inherent characteristics that we desire so much and that we will lose the opportunity to entice a young person to decide agriculture is their means of earning a living as they grow older.
You have to have experience as a child to learn what opportunities are available for you. Students who become teachers have been enthused about becoming a teacher because of an experience in a classroom. Well, it works the same way on a farm in Kansas or South Dakota or in Arkansas. It is the experience that child has, that young person has in working with their families, with neighboring farmers that causes them to think: When I grow up, I want to work on this family farm. I want to earn my living in agriculture.
While a portion of the rule is being reproposed, don't take your eye off the consequences of the remainder of the rule, even if we get a good definition of a family farm in the reproposed rule. What remains is replacing the things that have a time-honored tradition and success in rural communities, in agriculture, in educating our kids--FFA, 4 H, county extension; those things are being replaced and the Department of Labor is going to become the decider of whether a young person has the capabilities to work on a family farm.
The Department says that those things, FFA, 4 H, and county extension, are too local and that we have to have a nationally driven policy from the Department of Labor to decide how we educate and train and make certain we have safety for young people working on farms.
The other part of the proposed rule that remains, that is not involved in any new modification and is working its way through the process--and we expect the Department of Labor to announce in a few months their final rule--is the definition of farming practices that even if the Department of Labor determines that this young person has the right safety credentials to work on the farm, these things are still prohibited--things such as working 6 feet off the ground. Six feet off the ground is where you are when you are on a tractor or when you are on a combine. So what the Department of Labor is doing is taking away a whole segment of the things that are important to young people on the farm. You cannot work with a wheelbarrow and a shovel to clean out a stall, you cannot herd cattle.
In fact, the proposed regulation says you cannot do anything in animal husbandry that inflicts pain upon the animal. Those are things that are pretty important, such as branding and breeding and dehorning and vaccinating. Certainly young people across Kansas and South Dakota have the opportunity to do those things today and take them away, and it diminishes the opportunities that are important to them in earning a living and saving money for their future, but also takes away those other invaluable characteristics of working side by side with farmers who know the real meaning of life, with moms and dads, grandparents, and neighbors.
I very much appreciate the Senator from South Dakota and the sentiments he expressed.
Just another example to show the overreach of these regulations, one of the proposals by the Department of Labor has sought comments on whether we should limit the exposure of direct sunlight if the temperature reaches a certain limit once you factor in wind velocity and humidity.
How is a farmer going to make a decision under those circumstances--whether or not this young person could work on the farm based upon daylight, humidity, temperature? We are going to have to hire a meteorologist to make a determination whether that day it is OK for a 15-year-old to be working on the farm.
I have invited the Secretary of Labor to come to Kansas to experience farm life. That invitation was not accepted. I don't begrudge the Secretary of that. It is not expected necessarily that the Secretary of Labor would come to my State and visit with farmers, although we would love to tell her the story.
We had asked for an opportunity to have a conversation with the Secretary of Labor here in Washington, DC. I was happy to go to her office. That also was denied.
As the Senator from South Dakota indicates, a letter from 30 Members of the Senate, both Republicans and Democrats--it wasn't a partisan issue. Senator Nelson of Nebraska was my colleague in asking the Department to extend the comment period so that farmers, during fall harvest, would have a greater opportunity to comment on this rule. It was a bipartisan letter asking for certain information. We learned again this week that the Department of Labor says that letter from 30 Senators--I don't mean this in an arrogant way, but we represent constituents who have serious concerns with a regulation that we believe will fundamentally alter the way we live our lives in agriculture--the answer was, we are going to treat that just like any other letter, which means we are going to send a form letter really telling, I would guess, not much of anything and certainly not answering our questions.
We have asked folks across the country to take a look at the Web site keepfamiliesfarming.com, and we are soliciting comments from folks across [Page: S897] the country so we can try to submit these to the Department of Labor and make the case known. We would ask the American people, particularly those who understand the importance of this issue, to rise and express their concern and tell the Secretary of Labor, tell the Department of Labor the tremendous consequences of a regulation that changes something that is so important to the character of rural America and the character of our country nationwide.
I appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation with the Senator from South Dakota and would be glad to yield to him.