Luttrell said the proposed regulation would "limit the exposure young people have to farming and could have a lasting impact on agriculture."

"Most children and teens have never been on a farm. Those who have, and who wish to work on one, are more than likely going to be the producers for the next generation," Luttrell said. "If we don't engage young adults in farming practices and encourage their interest in agriculture, we may threaten our very supply of food and fiber. Consider that a majority of current farmers are 55-years-old or older. Without training and encouraging youth to farm, we are soon going to run out of knowledgeable and motivated agriculturalists. This proposal makes that an even greater likelihood."

Wood also cited recent predictions that show U.S. farmers and ranchers must double production by 2050 to fulfill global food needs.

"We must commit to a safe but vibrant and expanding legacy of future growers, farmers, and ranchers rather than restrict their access, education, and involvement in family farms," Wood said.

Luttrell said the U.S. Dept. of Labor's citation of safety concerns regarding teenage farm labor are valiant but the proposed regulation as a whole is more hurtful than helpful.  

"As a family organization, the safety and well being of our youth is a top priority for the Grange, because we know that we are training tomorrow's farmers and ranchers. Bestowed with that responsibility, we also understand that it is necessary to provide a safe and secure setting where our youth can develop their interests in agriculture and carry that knowledge into the future," Luttrell said. 


Luttrell also said the proposed regulation would make farming and ranching an even more expensive endeavor, and said burdensome and unnecessary regulations are something the Grange actively lobbies against.

"I think this regulation is unnecessary and is going to add to the cost of doing business in America," Luttrell said.