Recently the U.S. Department of Labor's proposed revision of child labor regulations on U.S. farms was defeated by an agricultural community already worried about severe farm labor shortages and marginal profits.
In the midst of this high profile debate over labor laws and government regulation, Sen. Gillibrand has been working quietly to preserve a more intelligent solution to the health and safety issues of state farmers. Recent proposed budget cuts included elimination of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program. This program focuses on collaborating with the farm community, private industry and advocacy groups to identify convenient and affordable solutions to agricultural hazards using regional centers like the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health.
For these centers, partnership is the name of the game, not regulation.
A good example of a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's Agriculture program is the popular Rollover Protection System Rebate Program, which provides logistical and cost-sharing assistance to farmers interested in installing roll-over protective structures, vs. imposing laws that simply require farmers to install the system.
Thanks to the notable leadership of Gillibrand and several other representatives, the termination of the program and the switch to a singularly regulatory approach has been avoided. As Gillibrand has masterfully demonstrated, there is an effective solution for most problems if we will only take the time to consider it thoughtfully.
This is further evidence of her determination to effectively represent the interests of New York farmers in Washington.