Blog Archives

New Website Allows You to Comment on Department of Labor Youth Labor Rule

Regulations Would Require Sweeping Changes to Farm and Ranch Practices, Increase in Legal Liability to Farm and Ranch Families 

For many, farming and ranching is a family tradition, involving two, three or more generations as well as extended family. But proposed Department of Labor requirements for farm and ranch employers and restrictions on what youth can do on the farm would put that tradition at risk.

The lessons learned on the family farm instill respect for the land and animals, persistence, discipline and hard-work.

A new website, Keep Families Farming (, gives you the chance to have an impact on this rule. The Keep Families Farming website allows you to submit comments that will be used to show the Department of Labor and the White House the importance of the family farm and the way this rule would fundamentally change the way of life in rural America.

Because DOL is no longer accepting public comments, the Keep Families Farming website has been established to support the legislative effort on Capitol Hill, where this issue will almost certainly be voted on this summer. Your messages to the website are a critical component in building support for the effort to protect family farms.


We are asking you to submit your story of life on the farm and ranch by submitting comments through the Keep Families Farming ( website.

Add information specific to your farm and ranch with personal examples to add impact to your comments, such as:

  • As an agricultural producer, I support and provide a safe working environment for my children, young workers and all employees.
  • The Department of Labor rule does not take into account the unique organization of family farms being owned and operated by many members and generations of one family.
  • Farms and ranches provide a unique educational and training experience to learn about horticulture, animal care & welfare, equipment operation, environmental protection among other unique opportunities found exclusively on a farm.
  • Traditional farm activities performed by youth are threatened by this rule.
  • Family members and other workers on the farm are protected by numerous laws and regulations. Parts of this rule represent regulatory over-reach. It does not recognize the unique structure of today’s family farm operations and the traditions that the family farm provides to all workers.

Click here to submit your comments against the DOL Youth Labor Rule. (


Hawaii’s Legislative Process

We know it’s a daunting task to monitor new bills…Every year the Hawaii Farm Bureau, its volunteers, staff and County  & district leaders, volunteer thousands of hours to read, monitor and testify on behalf of agriculture in Hawaii….Just one of the huge services that the Farm Bureau provides to its members. Big Island Farm Bureau contributes approximately 300 hours each session to this process. This year it is my intention to expand our voice, and distribute  the information further and in a manner we haven’t tried before;  We’ve gone social!

Soon I will have a synopsis on the bills that will impact Hawaii Island and the State…Sorry the bills are still being read and classified; were talking on average we read and compile between 3000 & 4000 bills or pieces of legislation, some are 1 page and some feel like their 100 pages of regulations!

I need your input and stories on….Ag theft, regulations…Any thing that can help tell us how it affects the producer is important.  We wont necessarily ask you to testify before the House or Senate but on some occasions it is needed….Help me, help you. Give us your thoughts, stories and whatever your experience is on the bills that impact you.

Until then I thought you might be interested in the changes that have happened at the State Website…All for the better! Yay to Hawaii for being progressive and helpful in this process..Kudos to all involved.

If you’re a beginner to the legislative process I recommend that you begin with this handy-dandy guide…Same place I did many years ago only we couldn’t read it online.

Yesterday was the bill cutoff deadline…Today is the first recess but that does not mean that work isn’t happening. Things are a feverish pace for the next several weeks as we strive to keep our heads above the tidal wave of bills….


Here are some of the key features of the Capitol website.


Testimony.  Beginning this session, Senate hearing notices will no longer list specific information on Senate testimony policies and procedures.  This information has been replaced with a link that will take users that access hearing notices electronically to the Legislature’s website, where policies and procedures are outlined.  This information is also displayed wherever hearing notices are posted within the Capitol building for users that view printed hearing notices.  Copies of this informational sheet are also available in the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Public Access Room, located at the State Capitol building, to members of the public who are interested in learning how to submit testimony to Senate committees.

Testimony procedures have remained largely unchanged; members of the public can still submit testimony in the same ways – using the Legislature’s website, Senate committee e-mails or fax, or hand-delivering copies to the committee clerks.

The most notable change in Senate procedures is that the deadline to submit testimony to Senate committees has been changed from 4:00pm of the day prior to the hearing to 24 hours prior to the hearing.  Testimony received after the 24 hour deadline may be considered late, and may not be posted online prior to the hearing or otherwise made available during the hearing.


Website.  The Hawaii State Legislature‘s website is the key portal for those wishing to get informed and involved in the legislative process.  The website was recently redesigned to enhance citizen engagement and includes:

  • Contact information for current members of the Senate and House of Representatives
  • Bill and resolution text and current status information
  • List of upcoming committee hearings
  • Daily downloads of bills, resolutions, committee reports, and other documents
  • Online testimony submittal
  • Downloadable bill status reports (i.e., all bills or resolutions introduced, bills signed into law, all committee reports filed, etc.)


You can also create an account with the Legislature and as a registered user, you can track your own personalized list of bills and get e-mail notifications for legislative committee hearings.Create an Account

I recommend creating an account and placing the bills in your own list. Although I will be posting our lists and RSS feeds soon. The system is user-friendly and easy to navigate. By placing bills in your own list you can generate a report that shows their status and all information in a brief format that is easy to read.


Video Streams

The Legislature will continue streaming selected committee hearings live over the Internet.  A new feature this session will be live streams of the daily House and Senate floor sessions, beginning with today’s opening day sessions in both chambers.  Links to the live and archived audio and video streams are accessible from the website.


Thank you for your interest and participation in the legislative process.  If you have any questions and concerns, please contact the Senate Clerk’s office at             (808) 586-6720       or by email at

American Farm Bureau News

Selected Stories in This Issue:

Farm Bureau urges Senate support for repealing health insurance tax
‘Regular order’ on farm bill to resume
Growers seeks smooth transition for biotech patent expirations
Dust regulations are blowin’ in the wind
Values kids learn through farm work are at risk
U.S. weighs options after WTO rejects COOL rules
New York Farm Bureau celebrates Broome County centennial
Accurate Ag Books list is now a searchable database
Book of the Year to be announced in January
2012 Foundation Silent Auction to be online
Bigger, better My American Farm agricultural game to be featured at AFBF annual meeting
House passes bill preventing feds from regulating dust
California group pushes for biotech food labels, launches drive for 2012 ballot measure

Download the latest edition today!



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