Family farms don’t need more scrutiny

Lawmakers from North Dakota and other farm states want federal regulators to stay away from small family farms amid concerns of increased and unnecessary scrutiny from the federal government.

The deputy administrator of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sought to reassure lawmakers that the agency has no intention of targeting small farms for increased inspections. Lawmakers rightly have became suspicious of the federal government’s intentions following a 2011 memo that said OSHA could regulate “post-harvest activities” such as storing and drying crops. The intent, OSHA officials say now, is to respond to a growing number of deaths related to grain storage accidents, not to further intrude on the day-to-day workings of small family farms.

Small farms are already subject to a host of regulations, and don’t need more unnecessary scrutiny, a point made by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Rep. Kevin?Cramer, R-N.D., and a long list of other lawmakers in a letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. The lawmakers reminded Perez that only Congress can authorize changes to allow OSHA to regular small farming operations.

Hopefully, everyone is now on the same page regarding this issue. Those in charge of family-run operations don’t need further government interference when making daily decisions on how best to operate their business.