My kids’ friends that I like the most are farm kids. It’s simple. Working on a farm makes kids hard-working and responsible. When my kids complain about their chores, I love that I can point to their friends who come home from school to do real chores — the kind that entail braving the cold barn and doing things that impact their families’ bottom line. That puts organizing your sock drawer in perspective fast.
Well now the federal government is stepping in to regulate the kind of work kids can do on a farm – no helping out in the silo, grain bins or elevators and no working at the livestock exchange or auction. While the regulations technically exclude kids working on their parent’s farm, but what if Jimmy works on grandma’s farm or Uncle Joe is paying his niece to help him out with the livestock? And where does it end? It’s a slippery slope. Like an octopus, government’s tendency is to reach further and further into our lives.
Other casualties in the war on American work ethic are 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America. In addition to the impact a livestock exchange or auction ban would have on the clubs, the US Labor Department wants to replace the clubs’ training programs with a federally approved 90-hour course, making it all but prohibitive for the average kid to participate.
As one farmer described the new regulations, the biggest, “blow is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm. Losing that work-ethic – it’s so hard to pick this up later in life.”
As a parent, I can’t think of a more cautionary example of the perils of big government. The sense of purpose gained from contributing to a family or neighbor’s enterprise harkens us back to a traditional American model of self-reliance, precisely at a time when nearly half of US kids and 90% of African-American kids are being raised on government food stamps.
I live in a farming state and area. This is an attack on the Wisconsin way of life that will not only change how family farms are run, but who we are for generations to come.