Path Home Shows 2012 Show Archive January 2012 Show 1203 Farm Labor - Who's Minding the Farm

Farm Labor - Who's Minding the Farm

Newly proposed regulations by the Department of Labor could impact the way of life for many Oklahomans "down on the farm."

For more information visit this link:

Oklahoma Department of Labor

Show Dates

Show 1203: Farm Labor - Who's Minding the Farm

Air date: January 15, 2012

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON: WELL IT’S BEEN SAID THAT OKLAHOMA IS THE LAND OF SOIL, OIL, AND TOIL; AND, IT’S THE LATTER OF THOSE WE’RE GONNA FOCUS ON TODAY.  OKLAHOMANS HAVE LONG PRIDED THEMSELVES ON AN EXEMPELARY WORK ETHIC, SO WHEN NEW PROPOSED  REGUALTIONS FROM THE US DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WERE UNVEILED THAT WOULD LIMIT CHILDREN WORKING ON THE FARM, IT HAS SOME WORRIED SUCH CHANGES WILL NOT ONLY HURT AN INDUSTRY, BUT AN ENTIRE WAY OF LIFE.  JOINING ME NOW WITH A TRUE INSIDERS VIEW OF LIFE DOWN ON THE FARM IS OUR OWN COURTENAY DEHOFF.

COURTENAY DEHOFF:  WELL ROB, GROWING UP ON MY FAMILY FARM TRULY GAVE ME A LOOK INTO THE RESPONSIBILITES THAT COME WITH AGRICULTURE.  AND WHILE I MAY NOT HAVE ALWAYS APPRECIATED THE EARLY MORNING FEEDINGS, THERE WERE PLENTY OF LIFE LESSONS LEARNED.  SO WHEN I WENT HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS I TOOK A CAMERA TO GIVE EVERYBODY A LOOK INTO WHAT THAT LIFE IS LIKE FOR CHILDREN ON THE FARM, COURTESY OF MY KID SISTER.

THE JOB IS NEVER DONE AND IT’S NEVER EASY; BUT LIKE A PIECE OF WELL OILED EQUIPMENT, THEY WORK TIRELESSLY DAY BY DAY TO ENSURE THAT THEY LEAVE THEIR MARK ON AGRICULTURE.

HADLEY DEHOFF:  I’M OUT HERE EVERY DAY AND I WORK WITH THEM, SO I CAN GET THEM READY FOR THE SHOWS.

COURTENAY:  FROM DUSK TO DARK, MY 15-YEAR-OLD SISTER HADLEY AND MY DAD TIM WILL SPEND THE DAY SIDE-BY-SIDE ON THE FAMILY FARM.

HADLEY:  I HAVE FOUR HORSES TO RIDE LATER SO, I GET THE WORK I NEED TO GET DONE IN THE MORNING SO I HAVE THAT OUT OF THE WAY.

COURTENAY:  BUT FAMILY FARMS COULD BE IN FOR A RIDE OF THEIR OWN.  THE FEDERAL GOVERNEMENT HAS PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR CHILDREN WORKING ON FARMS THAT WOULD RESTRICT MINORS YOUNGER THAN 16 FROM OPERATING MOST EQUIPMENT AND WOULD LIMIT THEIR ABILITY TO BE AROUND LIVESTOCK.  SOMETHING MY ENTIRE FAMILY FEELS WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.

CINDY DEHOFF:  IT WASN’T WORK, WE JUST KNEW WHAT HAD TO BE DONE AND YOU DID IT OR YOU DIDN’T HAVE DINNER THAT NIGHT.

COURTENAY:  MY MOM, LIKE EVERY OTHER MOM, IS NEVER AFRAID TO LET HER VOICE BE HEARD, NO MATTER WHAT THE ISSUE.

CINDY:  HADLEY, WHEN YOU GO THE BARN, YOU NEED TO GET THAT HIEFER IN THAT CRAWLED THROUGH THE FENCE, OKAY?

HADLEY:  OKAY.

CINDY:  SHE NEEDS EXTRA FEED.

HADLEY:  I KNOW.

CINDY:  WE WERE RAISED AND YOU WENT OUT AND DID STUFF EVEN IF MOM AND DAD WEREN’T HERE; AND YOU SAW A COW CALVING OR SOMETHING, THE THREE OF US GOT OUT THERE.  AND, IT JUST MADE COLLEGE LIFE EASIER; WHEN I NEEDED MONEY I KNEW HOW TO WORK.  I, YOU KNOW, RAISED TWO DAUGHTERS AND TAUGHT THEM WORK ETHIC.  NO MATTER IF EVERYTHING AROUND ME FELL APART, I COULD GO GET A JOB; I KNOW HOW TO WORK AND IT DOESN’T MATTER IF IT’S HOT OR COLD OR MISERABLE, YOU JUST DO IT.

COURTENAY:  A MOTTO THAT HAS BEEN BRED INTO US FARM KIDS.  AND IT MAY BE THAT GRIT AND DETERMINATION TO NEVER GIVE UP THAT HAS PROVOKED OUTRAGE TOWARDS THE NEW PROPOSALS.  THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RECEIVED OVER 18,000 COMMENTS REGARDING PROPOSED REGULATIONS DURING THE COMMENT PERIOD.

CINDY:  THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S NOT REALLY A JOB FOR US.  IF WE WANT TO HAVE A JOB AND MAKE MONEY, WE HAD TO GO WORK ON A NEIGHBOR’S RANCH BECAUSE OUR OWN FAMILY DIDN’T PAY US; THEY EXPECTED IT.  IT WAS PART OF OUR LIFESTYLE AND OUR LIVELIHOOD.

COURTENAY:  NOW WHILE PROPOSED REGULATIONS WOULD STILL ALLOW MY SISTER TO COMPLETE MOST OF THE CHORES ON OUR RANCH, THEY WOULD PROHIBIT HER FROM DOING THEM HERE.  JUST 130 MILES DOWN THE ROAD AT WHAT MAY BE THE VERY CORE OF MY FAMILY’S OPERATION.

MY GRANDPARENTS AND THIS RANCH DEEP IN THE FLINT HILLS OF KANSAS HAVE BEEN A PART OF MY CHILDHOOD AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER.  BUT MY YOUNG SISTER AND MY YOUNG COUSINS MAY BE DENIED THAT RIGHT IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS A SAY.

[HONKING HORN]

HADLEY:  COME ON CALVES!

I LOVE COMING DOWN HERE BECAUSE WHEN I GET HERE I KNOW I’M GONNA HAVE TO HELP HIM PUT OUT HAY BALES OR FEED CATTLE OR PREG CHECK OR ANY OF THAT.  I JUST LOVE COMING DOWN HERE; IT’S A NEW BUNCH OF STUFF TO DO, AND IT’S FUN.

COURTENAY:  FUN THAT EVEN MY GRANDMA AND GRANDPA, JIM AND JEAN HOUCK, CAN RELATE TO.

[NATS]

JEAN HOUCK:  RANCH KIDS CAN RELATE MORE LIKE, TO THEIR GRANDPARENTS, BECAUSE IT’S A LOT DIFFERENT THAN JUST GOING TO YOUR GRANDPARENT’S HOUSE AND WATCHING TV.  IF YOU’RE OUT THERE WORKING WITH THEM, YOU GET TO KNOW ‘EM BETTER; AND, IT’S A BENEFIT TO THE GRANDPARENTS BECAUSE YOU GET TO KNOW THE CHILDREN BETTER.

COURTENAY:  MY RELATIVES FEEL FARMING AND RANCHING IS AS MUCH ABOUT FAMILY AS IT IS ABOUT MAKING A LIVING, AND EVEN THE LITTLEST COWBOYS ON THE RANCH CAN ATTEST TO THAT.  DO YOU LIKE BEING A COWBOY?

HUNTER HOUCK:  UH HUH.

COURTENAY:   YEAH, WHY DO YOU LIKE BEING A COWBOY?

HUNTER:  BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

COURTENAY:  MY COUSIN HUNTER HAS ALREADY FIGURED OUT THAT LIFE ON THE RANCH IS TRULY WHAT MEMORIES ARE MADE OF.

HUNTER:  LIKE WHEN I WAS ON THE HORSE AND MY MOM STARTED THE LAWN MOWER, SHE, MY HORSE BUCKED ME OFF!

JEAN:  HE SAID THE FIRST TIME HE WAS HELPING US WITH NOTHING TO DO, GRAMMA I NEED A JOB.  AND THEY WANT TO DO IT AND IF YOU WAIT UNTIL HE’S 16, H’IS PROBABLY NOT GONNA WANT TO DO IT ANYMORE.

COURTENAY:  AND SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE COWBOY, MY GRANDPA AGREES.

JIM HOUCK:  WE REALLY DON’T NEED A LAW LIKE THAT BECAUSE OUR KIDS GROW UP TAKING CARE OF THE STOCK AND STUFF AND WE DON’T LET ‘EM GO OUT AND GET IN PLACES WHERE THEY’ED GET HURT.  IF THOSE FELLAS UP THERE IN WASHINGTON WOULD DO MORE TO SOLVE OUR DEBT PROBLEM AND ALL, AND QUIT MAKING THESE STUPID LAW,S WE’D PROBABLY BE BETTER OFF.

COURTENAY:  AND IT’S CLEAR MOST FARMERS AGREE SUCH REGULATIONS WOULD BE A MISTAKE; BUT THE IMPACT WOULD BE FELT PAST THE FARM GATE.

TIM DEHOFF:  MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS, SOMEBODY THAT KNOWS HOW TO WORK.

COURTENAY:  MY DAD IS NOT ONLY A RANCHER, BUT A BUSINESSMAN IN CORPORATE AMERICA, AND SAYS THE GOVERNMENT NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF THE IMPACT THESE REGULATIONS WOULD HAVE ON THE WORKING WORLD.

TIM:  MEANING THEY KNOW HOW TO PUT IN AN 8-HOUR DAY, THEY KNOW HOW TO LEAVE THEIR IPHONES IN THEIR TOOLBOX, AND THEY KNOW I PAY FOR 8 HOURS, THEY WORK FOR 8 HOURS; YOU CAN’T TEACH THAT.  SO WHAT I’VE DONE IN THE PAST, RECENTLY, IS I HIRE FARM KIDS, RIGHT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL.  BECAUSE THEY KNOW HOW TO WORK, THEY’RE NOT AFRAID TO WORK, AND BOY THEY CAN BE TAUGHT.  THEY’RE NOT AFRAID TO SWEAT AND THEY KNOW WHAT WORKING FOR A BOSS MEANS.  MY QUESTION IS, IF WE’RE NOT GONNA LET THESE KIDS DO THAT, AND THEY CAN’T WORK ANYMORE, WHO’S GONNA TEACH THESE KIDS A WORK ETHIC?  I’M SURE THE GOVERNMENT’S NOT.

COURTENAY:  SO WETHER IT’S THE GENERATIONS OF OLD, OR THE GENERATIONS OF NEW, THERE IS NO DENYING THAT THEY BELIEVE IN THIS LIFESTYLE; A LIFESTYLE ABOUT HUMILITY, INTEGRITY, AND EVEN A LITTLE INNONCENCE.

HUNTER:  THANKS EVERYBODY, GOODBYE.

ROB:  SO I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT YOUR FAMILY IS OPPOSED TO THESE REGULATIONS?

COURTENAY:  YEAH ROB, IT’S PRETTY APPARENT, BUT THEY’RE NOT ALONE.  AS I SAID IN THE STORY, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RECEIVED OVER 18,000 COMMENTS REGARDING THE ISSUE; INCLUDING LETTERS FROM OKLAHOMA’S GOVERNOR, THE SECRETARY OF AG, AND THE LABOR COMMISSIONER.

ROB:  SO FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, YOU GREW UP ON A FARM, SHOWED ANIMALS, STILL COMPETE IN PRO RODEO, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THIS?

COURTENAY:  ROB, I DON’T THINK THE FEDS UNDERSTAND THE WAY OF LIFE.  I CAN THINK OF SO MANY INSTANCES THAT MY SISTER AND I WERE NOT ALLOWED TO DO SOMETHING THAT WE WANTED TO DO BECAUSE IT WAS TOO DANGEROUS.  OUR QUESTION IS, HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT THAN THE KIDS LIVING IN URBAN AREAS THAT ARE DRIVING GO-CARTS UP AND DOWN THE STREET?

ROB:  ABSOLUTELY, WELL NEAT STORY AND THANK YOUR FAMILY FOR LETTING US INSIDE THEIR LIVES.

COURTENAY:  WILL DO.