H.R. 4157: Preserving America''s Family Farms Act

H.R. 4157

Preserving America''s Family Farms Act

Rep. Tom Latham

July 23, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4157, the Preserving America's Family Farms Act, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  The bill was introduced on March 7, 2012, by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) and referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. 


Bill Summary

H.R. 4157 would prohibit the Secretary of Labor from finalizing or enforcing the proposed rule entitled, “Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation; Child Labor Violations—Civil Money Penalties.”

The bill would include the following findings:

  1. Family farms often depend on the contributions of youth for their successful operation;
  2. Regulations proposed to be adopted by the Department of Labor will adversely impact the longstanding tradition of youth working on farms to gain valuable skills and lessons on hard work, character, and leadership;
  3. The proposed regulations would be detrimental to the opportunity for youth to gain experiential learning and hands-on skills for enrollment in vocational agricultural training;
  4. The proposed regulations would obstruct the opportunity for youth to find rewarding employment and earn money for a college education or other meaningful purposes;
  5. The proposed regulations will limit opportunities to recruit young farmers to agriculture at a time when the average age of farmers continues to rise; and
  6. Working on a farm has become a way of life for thousands of youth across the rural United States.



According to the sponsor’s office, the bill would block “recent attempts by the Department of Labor, with moral support from the Department of Agriculture, to increase federal regulatory involvement into family farms that risk outlawing farm youth from working on their family-owned farms.

“Historically, family farms have been exempted from child labor rules, but concerns have arisen that a proposal from the Department of Labor could jeopardize that exclusion for operations that are partly owned by extended family members such as grandparents, aunts or uncles.  Such practices occur often in modern agriculture as families employ a variety of legal structures to remain financially viable.

“The Department of Labor’s proposed regulation also would eliminate a pair of certification programs that allow student learners to perform certain kinds of farm work, such as the operation of tractors.  The proposed elimination of the certification programs has drawn opposition from farm youth groups like FFA and 4-H.”


A CBO cost estimate was not available at press time.