Path Home Shows 2012 Show Archive January 2012 Show 1203 Mike Spradling & Jack Staats Interview - Child Labor Laws - Affects of Farm Labor Law

Mike Spradling & Jack Staats Interview - Child Labor Laws - Affects of Farm Labor Law

We visit with two gentlemen who know just a little about farm life and get their perspective on the proposed regulations governing child labor laws.
Mike Spradling & Jack Staats Interview - Child Labor Laws - Affects of Farm Labor Law

Mike Spradling and Jack Staats

For more information visit this link:

Oklahoma Department of Labor

Show Dates

Show 1203: Mike Spradling & Jack Staats Interview - Child Labor Laws - Affects of Farm Labor Law

Air date: January 15, 2012

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL EARLIER I WAS ABLE TO VISIT WITH TWO GENTLEMEN WHO KNOW JUST A LITTLE ABOUT FARM LIFE.  MIKLE SPRADLING IS PRESIDENT OF OKLAHOMA’S FARM BUREAU AND JACK STAATS IS THE STATE SUPERVISOR OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION HERE IN OKLAHOMA.

SO GENTLEMEN I PROBABLY HAVE NEVER SEEN AN ISSUE HAVE PROBABLY MORE PASSIONATE RESPONSES THAN THIS ONE.  I HAD A REPORTER COME IN, THAT’S HOW I FIRST LEARNED OF IT, AND HE SAID YOU’VE GOT TO SEE MY TWITTER, THERE’S ALL OF THESE MESSAGES ABOUT CHILD LABOR LAWS.  AND WE STARTED LOOKING AT IT, AND THIS HAS REALLY UPSET FARM COUNTRY, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS MIKE?

MIKE SPRADLING:  WELL ONE OF THE THINGS IS, CERTAINLY NOT ONLY THE OKLAHOMA FARM BUREAU, BUT THE AMERICAN FARM, IS REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE DOL, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR INTERPRETING LAW AND STARTING TO PROPEGATE LAW, WHEN IT REALLY IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF CONGRESS.  CERTAINLY THERE ARE SAFETY ISSUES AND WE’LL ADDRESS THOSE I’M SURE AS WE GET THROUGH THIS INTERVIEW, BUT THE MAIN THING IS THAT WE’RE REALLY CONCERNCED ABOUT, AGAIN, ANOTHER REGULATORY AGENCY SUCH AS WE’VE DEALT WITH EPA, THAT IT’S REALLY NOT IN THEIR POSITION TO BE PROPEGATING THESE TYPE OF LAWS, THAT SHOULD BE LEFT UP TO CONGRESS.

ROB:  WELL JACK, YOU WORK WITH WHAT, 25,000 STUDENTS HERE ACROSS THE STATE THAT ARE INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE WHAT IS THE ISSUE HERE?

JACK STAATS:  I THINK ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT WE HAVE THE MOST PROBLEM WITH IS TO SET THERE AND SAY THAT IT MAYBE LIMITS THE ABILITY OF AN AGRICULTURE EDUCATION TEACHER TO SUPERVISE AND OVERSEE STUDENTS IN AN AGRULTURAL SETTINGS.  LIKE IN A PLACEMENT OPERATION, GO TO WORK FOR A FARMER, GOES TO WORK FOR SOMEBODY IN AN AGRULTURE ENTERPRISE; IT LIMITES OUR ABILITY TO SUPERVISE THEM BECAUSE IT SAYS IF THEY DON’T HAVE A NUMBER OF SAFETY HOURS THAT THEY CAN’T EVEN ENGAGE IN A PLACEMENT OPERATION IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, OR NATIONALLY, AS WE LOOK AT IT.  SO, WE THINK THAT THAT SUPERVISOR PORTION, OR THAT PORTION OF OUR EDUCATION THAT IS A HANDS-ON EDUCATION WHERE WE TAKE OUR CLASSROOM AND ACTUALLY APPLY OR MAKE APPLICATION TO IT, WE THINK THAT THAT TAKES IT AWAY FROM US.  WE THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, IT’S ALWAYS BETTER IF WE SHOW THEM THE APPLICATION THAN TO SET THERE AND SAY, HEY DON’T DO THAT, THAT’S DANGEROUS; WE’D RATHER HAVE SOMEBODY SET THERE, SUPERVISOR, AND ADVISE THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE.  I THINK THAT’S A BETTER OPERATION.

ROB:  HANDS-ON LEARNING.

JACK:  YES, SURE.

ROB:  NOW MIKE, NO ONE HERE, NONE OF US WILL ARGUE THAT FARMING CAN BE A DANGEROUS BUSINESS, CORRECT?

MIKE:  ABSOLUTELY, IT DOES HAVE ITS HAZARDS.

ROB:  AND CHILDREN DO GET HURT ON THE FARM, SO WHAT DO WE DO TO MAKE IT SAFER FOR CHILDREN ON THE FARM?

MIKE:  WELL CERTAINLY, AS IN ALL FAMILY FARMS, A LOT OF THE FAMILY FARMS CERTAINLY HAVE CHILDREN ON IT.  AND OF COURSE, AS YOU GROW UP AND AS YOU GET EXPOSED TO HAZARDS, YOU LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM.  AND THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT’S IMPORTANT, THAT THE CHILDREN HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE, NOT EXPOSED TO DANGER, BUT TO BE EXPOSED TO AGRICULTURE AND UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE WORKING INTER-WORKINGS OF AGRICULTURE.  SECRETARY VALSECK JUST TOLD AMERICAN FARM BUREAU BOARD OF DIRECTORS EARLIER THIS YEAR, THAT WITHIN THE NEXT TWO DECADES WE’RE GONNA HAVE TO HAVE A 100,000 NEW FARMERS AND RANCHERS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE AGING AND DISPLACED FARMERS AND RANCHERS NOW.  WHERE ARE THE NEXT GENERATION GONNA COME FROM?  YOUNG PEOPLE, SUCH AS FFA AND 4-H, HAVE TO HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THOSE THINGS TO DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN IT.  AGRICULTURE IS A LEARNING LABORATORY, THE FARMS AND RANCHES IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ACROSS THIS NATION, IS A LEARNING LABORATORY.  THEY LEARN EVERYTHING FROM ANIMAL SCIENCE TO HORTICULTURE TO JUST EVERY SCIENCE THERE IS AVAILABLE, ZOOLOGY.  BUT, THEY HAVE TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE EXPOSED TO THAT, TO LEARN TO DEVELOP AN INTEREST WHERE THAT WILL GO THEN AND CHOOSE, COME TO OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND CHOOSE TO BE INVOLVED IN PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE.

ROB:  AND YOU KNOW, TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DO, I’VE BEEN TO FARM SAFETY CAMPS PUT ON BY THE FFA, AND BOTH BY THE FARM BUREAU; I MEAN, YOUR ORGANIZATIONS ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS.

JACK:  ABSOLUTELY; IT’S ONE OF THESE THINGS, I GUESS, YOU KNOW, WELL DOES IT COME DOWN TO COMPROMISE?  IS THERE SOMETHING THAT THE FFA PROGRAMS, 4-H, AND FARM BUREAUS ARE GONNA HAVE TO MAYBE PUT TOGETHER A PROGRAM AND MAYBE GO A LITTLE FURTHER INTO TRAINING; OR AGAIN, EDUCATING CHILDREN ABOUT THE HAZARDS?  BUT THE BEST THING THAT I, AS A PERSON WHO’S GROWN UP IN AGRICULTURE, YOU KNOW, THE EXPERIENCE, HANDS-ON WAS THE MOST, WAS THE BEST TEACHER I EVER HAD.  BUT CERTAINLY, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HANDS-ON, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SUPERVISED HANDS-ON.  AND THOSE ARE THE THINGS WITH THE RIGHT PERSONNEL THERE, THE RIGHT PEOPLE WHO HAVE AN INTEREST AND CERTAINLY THE SAFETY OF NOT ONLY CHILDREN, BUT ANYONE WORKING UNDER OUR SUPERVISION, IS THAT WE EDUCATE ‘EM AND EXPOSE ‘EM TO THOSE THINGS SO THAT THEY LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH HAZARDS.

ROB:  NOW I READ THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, SOME OF THEIR REGULATIONS, AND SAW SOME COMMENTS BY THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, AND HER PERSPECTIVE WAS THAT WHY SHOULD WE TREAT AGRICULTURE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER INDUSTRIES THAT WE, WE REGULATE?  BUT, I WOULD HAVE TO ARGUE THAT AGRICULTURE HAS A LOT MORE MULTI-GENERATIONAL FARMS WHICH THIS AFFECTS AND IT ALSO ALMOST, IT’S ALMOST NAÏVE IN THE FACT THAT, IT EXPECTS THE FAMILY FARM DESIGNATION VERSUS THE LIMITED LIABILITY CORPORATION.  AND, I WANT ONE OF YA’LL TO EXPLAIN THAT TO OUR AUDIENCE, THAT MOST FARMS TODAY, OR A LOT OF FARMS TODAY, ARE LIMITED LIABILITY CORPORATIONS THAT WOULD FALL UNDER THIS RULE.

MIKE:  ABSOLUTELY; SO, THERE ARE MANY, OF COURSE STILL, THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE STRAIGHT FAMILY FARMS.  AND OF COURSE THE EXEMPTION SAYS, IT SAYS YOUR IMMEDIATE CHILD IS EXEMPT FROM THE RULES; BUT, IT DOESN’T EXEMPT YOUR GRANDCHILDREN, YOUR NIECES OR NEPHEWS, THE THINGS THAT COME DURING THE SUMMER AND AGAIN, HELP GRANDMA AND GRANDPA ON THE FARM.  LEARNING TRAITS OF RESPONSBILITIY AND SELF-ESTEEM AND DEVELOPING AN INTEREST IN A CAREER THAT WE NEED PEOPLE TO TAKE INTEREST IN; BECAUSE AGAIN, AS I MENTIONED, WE’RE GONNA BE SHORT A 100,000 FARMERS AND RANCHERS IN THE NEXT TWO DECADES, THEY’RE GONNA HAVE TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE AND IT’LL BE THE GENERATION NOW THAT WE DEAL WITH AND THAT THE 4-H PROGRAMS AND FFA PROGRAMS THAT THEY TRAIN AND DEAL WITH THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, THEY HAVE TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY, A LABORATORY TO WORK IN TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP THAT INTEREST THAT THEY’LL GO ON AND COME BACK INTO AGRICULTURE.

ROB:  NOW JACK, AS I LOOK THROUGH ALL OF THESE PROPOSED RULES, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF ‘EM ARE TALKING ABOUT MACHINERY, AND MACHINERY, PTO’S, ALL OF THAT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS.  BUT IT ALSO AFFECTS DEALING WITH LIVESTOCK, TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT.

JACK:  WELL IT’S, IT’S ACCORDING TO HOW YOU READ THE RULE, AND YOU WANT TO LOOK AT THE RULE; BUT, THEY TALK ABOUT ANYTHING THAT INHIBITS ANIMALS OR, THEY TALK ABOUT CONTROLLING ANIMALS IN A HARMFUL WAY.  FOR EXAMPLE, IF I TALKED ABOUT CORALLING, IF I TALKED ABOUT PUTTING SOMETHING IN A LOADING SHOOT, IF I TALKED ABOUT, IT COULD EVEN BE DE-HORNING, OR DOING SOMETHING COSMETICALLY TO AN ANIMAL THAT’LL CAUSE THEIR TEMPERANT TO CHANGE, AN ANIMAL, OR EXCUSE ME, A YOUNG PERSON CAN NOT BE INVOLVED WITH THAT.  WELL, HOW MUCH LIMITATION DO WE NEED TO HAVE?  YOUNG PEOPLE ARE GONNA HAVE TO LEARN FROM THE TIME THAT THEY GROW UP, HOW TO HANDLE ANIMALS OR THEY NEED SOMEBODY TO SUPERVISE THEM TO TRAIN THEM.  AND PLUS THE OTHER FACT, WHETHER WE BELIEVE IT OR NOT, A BIG PORTION OF YOUNG PEOPLE GET INVOLVED WITH AGRICULTURE BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE FOR ANIMALS; AND SO, LET’S NOT CUT OUT THAT THEIR ABILITY TO BE ENGAGED IN AGRICULTURE, BECAUSE AN ANIMAL DREW THEM INTO OUR FIELD.

ROB:  AND JACK, I THINK THAT POINT’S A REAL IMPORTANT DEMOGRAPHIC TREND IN THAT A LOT OF THE MEMBERS OF AG EDUCATION PROGRAMS TODAY DON’T NECESSARILY GROW UP ON A FARM.

JACK:  I KNOW THAT’S KIND OF A MISCONCEPTION ANYMORE; WE THINK THAT FFA MEMBERS, YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE, YOU KNOW, WE THINK OF OKLAHOMA AS BASICALLY, A LOT OF TIMES AS A RURAL STATE OR AN AGRICULTURAL STATE, BUT THERE’S SO MANY OF THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE THAT’S NOT EVEN INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE, DO NOT GROW UP ON A FAMILY FARM.  IF YOU TAKE THE 25,000 FFA MEMBERS THAT WE HAVE IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, THERE’S OVER 60% OF THOSE FFA MEMBERS THAT DO NOT GROW UP ON A FARM.  AND YOU TAKE A YOUNG PERSON THAT IS NOT INVOLVED IN AGRICULTURE, THAT IS A WHOLE NEW LEARNING PROCESS.  IF A YOUNG PERSON WAS A, YOU KNOW, MY ARGUMENT TO ‘EM, IF YOU COME UP AND ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HAVE A YOUNG PERSON THAT GOES OUT AND THEY’RE 16 YEARS OF AGE THAT HAS NEVER BEEN AROUND ANY KIND OF MACHINERY, I’D THINK THAT LEARNING CURVE AND THAT DANGER ELEMENT WOULD JUST ACCENTUATE JUST IMMEDIATELY.

ROB:  WELL CERTAINLY A NUMBER OF PEOPLE AGREE WITH YOU, AND WE’LL CERTAINLY BE FOLLOWING THIS ISSUE AND REPORT TO EVERYONE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS.  GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU.