If We’ve Won a Battle, Shouldn’t We Continue to Fight the War?

Recently the Department of Labor proposed for the outlawing of children to work on farms, including family farms. Within twelve hours, the story was changed to the outlawing children to work on non-family farms. After another twelve hours, the proposition was dropped, no more comments, no more issues.

Was anyone else amazed at the urgency to drop this proposition? The government received so much resistance that they dropped the issue within twenty four hours. One controversial subject came up that was going to hurt everyone in the family ranching/farming business and all of them came together and fought. Incredible.

Here was the issue with the proposition. Many of the family owned and operated agricultural businesses depend heavily on the involvement of the children. Chores such as rounding up cattle, baling hay, harvesting wheat, cleaning stalls, and fixing fence are chores children have done for years. To the outside world (citizens not associated with such agricultural businesses and families), such hard work may seem harsh but the truth is, many of us who worked with our parents growing up, enjoyed it and wouldn’t replace our experiences if we had the chance. Raising kids to have a hard work ethic and to get jobs done teaches them that hard work pays off. We were raised as “do-ers” and even though some of us go back the agricultural industry, we are successful even though we don’t make six figures. This new proposed labor law would keep parents from raising their children to work hard or to help neighbors, would this have contributed to child obesity or raising a generation even more dependent on TV and video games?  Next, co-curricular agricultural programs such as FFA and 4-H would have been improvised by getting rid of animal raising and business programs such as Supervised Agricultural Experiences which teaches students to be effective business people in their field of interest. Students go through these programs and go to college with an experience that cannot be taught by textbooks. If this new law had passed, how would our students learn to understand business, agriculture, or life skills?

The government was not aware of not only how important children are important to agriculture, but also how important agriculture is important to our children. In a society where the local McDonalds is replacing their playgrounds with video games in the restaurant, our children need all of the stability and hard work ethic that they can get. The agricultural industry spoke up. We not only spoke up where the government could hear us, but we spoke up enough for them to drop a proposal in twenty four hours. We are large and we can be heard, so why are we only speaking up when the government jeopardizes our culture? Our industry, our families, and our businesses are always being tried by the government, we need to speak up more and educate our country about agriculture. It has been proved that we can, but now, we just need to apply ourselves more often.

I spent this summer working on our family ranch. In this picture I was replacing old net wire with panels in order to make our shipping pens safer and more efficient