ND Rep. Cramer: OSHA Response on Small Farming Enforcement Encouraging, But More Certainty Needed
Date Posted: February 13, 2014
Washington, DCCongressman Kevin Cramer Feb. 11 said a response he and other colleagues received from the Department of Labor regarding OSHA’s excessive regulation on small farming operations is a welcome step, but more action is needed.
Cramer and more than 80 Members of Congress recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez calling on OSHA to cease its unnecessary overreach into small farming operations.
Recently reported OSHA fines stem from a 2011 operations memo which implies authority over grain drying and fumigating operations by declaring they are not central to an agricultural operation despite a 1976 law prohibiting use of OSHA funds for regulating farms with ten or fewer employees.
In the response Cramer received from the Department of Labor, the agency indicated it has removed the 2011 memo and plans to issue new guidance after consulting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and “organizations representing farmers”.
“I am cautiously optimistic OSHA is moving in the right direction. The removal of the misguided memo is a good step, but farmers need reassurance they will not be targeted by more rogue regulation attempts in the future.
"I hope the agencies involved realize the seriousness of their mistake and its implications for our food supply and the people who work every day to produce it,” said Cramer.
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