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Monday, January 30, 2012 - 4:53am

New Labor Concerns For Farmers

Finding migrant workers to pick crops isn’t the only labor issue facing Georgia farmers. They’re also watching as the U.S. Department of Labor updates rules on allowing children to work on family farms.

The proposed rules would allow children to work for their parents as long as farms aren’t jointly owned or incorporated. Kids could not work for relatives unless they live with them.

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to the Department of Labor opposing some of the changes.

“If you take small family farms and you take their children’s labor force away from that farm, it makes it very difficult for a small family farm to make ends meet.”

Duvall says the rules would also limit opportunities for students to learn safe farming practices through programs like Future Farmers of America. Department of Labor officials say an estimated 300 children a year die in farming accidents and changes will keep them safe.