Thursday, April 26, 2012

Victory for Family Farming and Ranching

This is great news for the farming and ranching communities.  Actually it is great news for America, but only a few know how wonderful it truly is.  

The Labor Department's statement:“The Obama Administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama Administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations. As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations. The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama Administration. Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”

This is OUR victory! 

My side note: someone should tell the Obama Administration the FFA changed their name.

Even with the breaking news, I do want to go on with the post I had planned for this evening.  This post is a thank you to the people who gave us our start through the 4-H and FFA programs.

I received a message yesterday from a reader that gave me this link. I can't ignore a reader, so I was moved to write on this topic. I wrote about this a while ago

This topic has blown up Facebook and most rural people like Jake and I believe that this would have changed the direction of our entire life.  Jake and I have an abundant amount of people to thank for the success we have had in the agriculture world.  I will use this blog to thank the 4-H and FFA programs to credit them for our start to what has been a successful agriculture venture so far.

Jake got his start with beef cattle at the age of nine in the Blue Ribbon Showmen 4-H clun in Fairfield County where his advisor was Kris Doyle.

I got my start with the Cow Kids 4-H club in Perry County where my advisors were Janie Dennis, Mary Lou Bontrager, my dad and my Uncle John.  We had a wonderful 4-H extension agent John Ulmer. Most of my childhood memories derive from 4-H and the activities that we were able to be a part of because of the volunteers and hard work of great people. 

Dad and Uncle John in their younger years.

yeah, those are colored Wranglers!

If we were not allowed to care for cattle in 4-H, Jake and I never would have found our passion for the beef industry. I have no idea what we would be doing. I think I may have been an elementary teacher and Jake may have went into construction.  I do know we would be paying less taxes.

With the passage of this new law, showing cattle could have come to an end.

By the time Jake was 15 and entering high school he had already developed a cow herd of 10 cows.  This credit would be given to his father and grandpa that helped him purchase cows and allowed him to run them on the family farm in exchange for labor on the farm.  This money would later help Jake pay for a Beef Production Degree from The Ohio State University at ATI.  I find it ironic how the government wants to find a way to find more funds for students to come to college, yet they want to take away the right for farm kids to earn money to go to college.

Jake and I both went on to earn our American Degrees through the FFA.  Jake continued to develop his beef cow herd and raise forages.  He was part of the Lancaster FFA where his advisor was Chuck Miller. 

I ended up raising market hogs, corn, wheat, hay and pumpkins through FFA, where my advisors were Phil Wagner and Mike Skinner at the Sheridan FFA Chapter.  I also had the opportunity to become a state FFA officer where I was given guidance and direction by Mr. who later became Dr. Gratz.    

I believe today that one of the best things I learned about in the FFA was record keeping and creating a budget.  Upon marring Jake and all of his dreams, ideas and goals, I soon found myself saying a lot – "I want to see that on paper".  There have been several ideas forgotten and lost because of not working out on paper.     

If you would like to share your story with pictures of how you got your start in Agriculture and publically thank the people that helped you get there send them to me at and I will post them. I am still hoping this will not become some history book of “how things use to be”.

Jake's Dad Robert with his livestock projects.

*Thanks JoEllen for the pictures.

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