Monday, October 31, 2011

Federal Regulators Run Amok On Farm Labor

I listened on the radio to both Congressman Rehberg and Senator Tester talk about this and I read about in the Billings Gazette and the HDN about this issue.  So let me see if I got this right.  In the last year, the Feds have embarked on three separate attacks on Farmers and Ranchers.  The first was a trial balloon meant to put all farmers and ranchers on notice that the Department of Transportation feels that anyone pulling a horse trailer should hold a commercial drivers license.  Then there are these insane attempts to regulate farm dust and now we see the Department of Labor wants to ban farmers from hiring children.  Could we please stop with all this mothering from the Feds? Please?  You already tell us that we must drive with our seatbelts, we must watch what we eat, we must buy health insurance, we must only drive cars that the government deems is safe enough or efficient enough.  The list goes on and on and on and for many of us, we are sick and tired of being regulated to death.

I grew up working on a farm and ranch here in Montana and I still believe it was one of the most important experiences a kid could have to learn not only how to grow food, but also a traditional work ethic.  Those folks in New York bellowing about Wall Street could use a little hard work in my honest opinion.  Farming and ranching is a noble profession and one which is crucial to our economy, not only in Montana but for our nation as well.  Food continues to be in the top 5 exports for the U.S. whether it is wheat, beef, corn or soybeans, agriculture is by far one of the largest industries the U.S. and certainly for Montana.  Not only that, it is one of the few areas of the economy actually performing quite well, so leave it alone!

The President and all of the dwarfs running for President continue to say finding jobs is the most important issue for the upcoming election.  Duh!  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, yet we might need one to figure our why our government continues to attack our own industries as opposed to trying to help these industries grow and employ more people.  It baffles the mind why at this stage in our economy while we continue to hemorrhage jobs, the Feds continue to find ways of destroying more jobs.

So for those keeping score, Montana has three main industries, 1) Agriculture, 2) Energy and 3) Tourism. Obama’s administration has all but attempted to destroy our energy industry by seeking to regulate coal by EPA regulations and Wyoming and North Dakota are kicking our butts on State regulations, now with these attacks on agriculture, how can any Montanan sit idly by and allow this to continue?  The bottom line is we all need to write our Congressman and our Senators and send comments to the Department of Labor telling them just how dumb this is.  Stop the nanny state right now! We are sick and tired of it.  Montana cannot afford to lose anymore jobs or we will go the way of California, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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  1. I don’t know a single farmer that doesn’t work his kids and three-quarters of the Hutterite colony’s farm help is kids. Most farm kids have a better work ethic than kids raised in town that never worked while young. What family farms do with their kids is none of the governments business

  2. Once again the Hollywood do gooders are making vast assumptions about agriculture. Eva Longoria(Desperate Housewives Star) is hosting a special on migrant children workers. She should go to Mexico and Central America and make a documentary about how their lives were before they came to the United States. I'm sure there are abuses, but abuse would really be sitting your child in fron of the television and making them watch "Desperate Housewives", how come they don't regulate that. My child knew how to identify the weeds and grasses that were growing in the hayfields from picking bales and knew how to find fossils and arrowheads from picking rock. She is the first on to be asked to supervise at work, and gets straight A's beacuse she has a work ethic. She never had mindless video games bur rather enjoyed being outside and active. Our Represenative and Senators are on board with this with the exception of Senator Tester who still has some issues with parts of the bill and won't bite the hand that feeds him so he is somewhat supporting a large majority of the bill. Rehberg will definately oppose, and Baucus is saying he will as of now but he needs to hear from us. We need to write Senators and Represenatives from other states many who are at least 5 generations away from agriculture, and don't even realize their food doesn't come from the grocery store. The Hutterites are largely responsible for the record of farm accidents on agricultural land because they don't teach farm safety very well to their children, maybe Ms. Longoria should do a documentary on the abuse there. We are getting legislation forced at us from Washington, Helena, and the most obvious to Havre should be our own over reaching city council. Agriculture's voice is small and apparently people must want to pay a lot more for food with all they regulation they are shoving down it's throat. US farmers provide the safest, cheapest, most abundant food source in the world and we are constantly kicked in the ass. Enough already!

  3. Yeah this one is completely nuts, well maybe not as completely nuts as the regulation of farm dust, but still pretty nuts. If I read this correctly, it does say farm familys are exempt from this restriction as it relates to their own farms, but as I recollect when I was growing up, my Dad was always "loaning" me out to the neighbors to help with harvest or what not. It didn't hurt me one bit and I agree those Occupy Wallsteeters could use a dose of good old fashioned hard work cleaning out bins or picking rock, then maybe they'd appreciate what this nation has provided. Talk about biting that hand that feeds you!

    I agree Tester is a little shaky on this one. His office press release said something about making sure we don't hinder farm production while trying to make farm safety a priority. Of course the idiots in the news media go to him because he is a a "farmer." Well if you can call a weed farmer a farmer then I guess he is, but I don't think that's what his neighbors (who didn't vote for him by the way) think.

    And Nancy you're right on with the City Council. That cell phone ban took the cake, do gooders run amok, just as much as the Feds!

    Its revolution time folks, let's take it back from the thugs!

  4. It does no good to belittle the Occupy protestes in one sentence, and call for a revolution in the other.

  5. Well Ax I would agree with you except that the difference is perspective.

    What is the occupy protesters are seeking? If any central theme can be determined it would be to drag down capitalism. The irony of this is that while they scream against and protest capitalism, it is that very capitalism which has fostered and proteced the very freedom they exercise daily. Call it irony, call it hypocrisy, they just don't get it.

    Revolution against ones government on the other hand is not only proper and not hypocritical it is the right of every American.

    So I think perspective matters. Those poor misguided souls in New York are being led by outside forces using their energy for political purposes, i.e. the unions and Obama's political operatives such as ACORN.

  6. Is that what you really think those people are doing? Protesting capitalism? Huh, here i thought it was all about corporate greed and dirty underhanded rip-offs of peoples savings. I guess i dont watch the same news as you.

    The only people who should be wishing those people were protesting the government instead of wall street, are the bankers. They control the government. Ask Geitner.

    Governments take your freedoms, and Bankers take your money. They are both nobel causes for protest because they both affect our quality of life.

  7. OWS is protesting that they now have large debts (student loans) incurred while obtaining degrees in subjects that have little or no market value.

    They should be camping out at their university president's house and at the White House, not at Wall Street.

  8. Yes I guess I must watch something Ax because the theme there is exactly what is happening in Greece and London and all over Europe.

    They are upset and bitter that they don't have "adequate" employment. In my day you did what you had to to survive, not so with this crowd. They expect the best without working for it. Not all, but a significant majority of them. They interviewed several of these protesters on the CBS Evening news a few weeks ago and they asked what type of employment they were seeking and in response they said a meaningful wage. What would that be asked the interviewer, and the response was over $75,000 per year. To start? What job is that? Some of these kids have never had another job and are less than a year or two out of college and it is Wall Street's fault that they don't have a job that pays $75,000 a year? Give me a break.

    That is not how this nation was built and it will not get us out of this situation. It is capitalism they detest and it is socialism they embrace when they demand something for nothing. An education is an opportunity not a guarantee and it never has been. Where do they expect to get a job from other than those same Wall Street companies they are protesting?

    And yes Ax they are upset about the bailouts and the underhanded ripoffs you mentioned and so am I, but Wall Street is not entirely to blame for that, the government going back to the Clinton Administration allowed that to happen when they forced banks to give loans to people who couldn't afford it. (see Reinvented Community Reinvestment Act 1995) Wall Street then further worsened this terrible policy by selling off derivatives and credit default swaps against poor loans basically betting against very the real estate equity the mortgages are based on. Greed, yes indeed. But greed is no isolated to capitalism, it is often the downfall in socialistic societies as well.

  9. If the State DOT wants farmers and ranchers to abide by the same regulations about trailers other people and companies HAVE to comply with what is your problem. Should one group of people be exempt from our laws? If a trailer is less than 10,000 lb. and the total gross is less than 20,000 lb. you do not need a commercial license. Personally I think Travel Trailers and Motor Homes should not be exempt. Make it equal across the board.

  10. It wasn't just trailers either, the proposed rule, which apparently has been scrapped because of all the backlash, was for any motorized equipment, i.e. a combine, tractor, swather or farm truck would be required to not only carry a CDL, but keep logs and carry commercial carry insurance, etc. Oh and by the way Steve, this wasn't the State DOT, this was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    The problem I have with this and the many regulations that have come out of Washington lately and moreso even the ideas being floated out there, is that Congress is not involved. If they are going to change the law, either by statute or by regulation, in my honest opinion, this needs to be done in the legislative branch of government and it is an overreach by the Feds and specifically the Executive branch. To think they (a political appointee, not elected with no accountability and often nameless) have the right by administrative rule to simply change the way things have been done in a specific sector of our economy with the stroke of a pen overnight should be disturbing to you all as well.

    Yes this may exempt a group of people from a rule, but do you really think that Joe Farmer is going to keep a log book while hauling grain the twelve miles from his farm to the local elevator 10 times a day? If you're hauling your own stuff, it isn't any of the feds business, haul for someone else Steve, and I am with you a 100% because that is "commercial."

  11. SteveM, interesting point and one that I share, but this proposal did exactly the opposite of what you say, make it equal across the board. I remember reading a lot about this back in August when it was mentioned on a radio show on the Northern Ag Network. The proposal was specifically for farmers, not any other carrier. They would do this by reclassifying all farm machinery and implements which can be driven or towed on public roads as commercial vehicles. It did not mention travel trailers or toy haulers at all. Just farmers. Yeah that's fair. I have a little farm I tinker with and I hire my hauling done because I don't have a tractor trailer, but with freight prices and where they are going I might need to get one to keep up. I do not have a CDL anymore, I did when I was on the rail, but not anymore and I can't see myself keeping logbooks. This was a bad idea from beginning to end and I am glad it never got going. Obummer's gotta go because I plan on working my grandkids on my farm all summer long like the Hute colony up the road--free labor!

  12. I guess no one told you we should import our food and save our land for more national parks, hiking trails, hunting and wildlife habitat, wilderness areas and the like.

    You dam republican bloggers always wanting to drill for oil, log, extract our minerals and plow up all the pristine range land like the Missouri river breaks

    What is up with that?

  13. It may be a Federal Regulation the State DOT is enforcing but it is the State DOT none the less. When I pull a trailer for the company I work for it is material and equipment that belongs to the company. Why couldn't the company I work for get the same breaks as a select group? Should the break for other small companies be the same as for agriculture? If you truly want freedom from federal regulation then get the state out of the business of enforcement, be careful of what you wish for.

  14. No it has nothing to do with the State DOT. The State of Montana has a different set of regulations it must enforce. This was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, not Montana DOT. In fact, Montana and several other farm states sent letters to the Federal DOT telling them not to do this as it interferes with enforcement of State laws and regulations. Shouldn't that tell you something? This was an altogether new Federal regulation meant to nothing other than "protect" us from ourselves. As for why farmers and ranchers are treated differently, I don't know I guess it is tradition and maybe that ought to change too, but the Feds need to stay out of the business of regulating stuff, they are not very good at!