Ag Reality

The Star Tribune recently ran an editorial by Susan Hogan titled When political rhetoric trumps child safety. Basically, she is upset about how corporate interests have killed proposed rules to protect children under 16 working as farmhands.

I’m not taking issue with the proposed rules here, but I am taking issue with where she perceives the problem coming from. Here is the problem paragraph for me:

But to abandon the entire safety reform effort because of public outcry from special-interest groups put political gain above children’s well-being, and that should never be the case.

Special interest groups? Those “special interest groups” are mainly family farms and farmers. Those are the people who were going to be hurt the most with these new rules and, rightly by my estimation, felt it as an overreach by the government.

If family farms are special interest groups, then every person is a special interest group. This is just ridiculous and a case of the person completely missing the point.

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“The rules were never meant to apply to children working on their own families’ farms, as some critics claimed.”

Just who does this woman think runs most of the farms in this country? What’s next, not letting children mow the lawn because the blade could chop off something?

The other issue is that it doesn’t matter that the rules weren’t “meant” to apply, what matters is that the rules were there. It’s head-in-the-sand stupid to state something like that to just brush off the problems people were having with the new rules.

Add that to the example she gave of accidents … a 56 year-old who died when getting run over by a tractor on his parent’s farm. The rules wouldn’t have applied in any way to that accident, so do we need to raise the age to 57 in order to make sure it doesn’t happen to another 56 year-old!?

Accidents happen. They do, and they are tragic. Bad things happen in this world. They do, and they are tragic. Adding more and more rules in order to “save the children” more often than note causes more harm than good.

Actually, it is worse then that. Adding regulations does nothing but entrench “Big Agriculture” because they are the only ones who can afford compliance. This is seen OVER AND OVER AND OVER again in other industries. Big Business will gladly support regulations that they can comply with in order to kill competition.

No one seems to understand that.

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