On the Horizon: Child labor laws – We’re talking about a way of life

Over Christmas I had the rare opportunity to turn the camera on my own family. I managed to escape some of the holiday madness by hiding behind my lens as my family worked throughout the holidays on our ranch in Northeast Kansas.

Few issues have ignited as much debate as the proposed child labor laws and like hundreds of other families our opinions on the issue are strong. We could think of no better way to portray this story than through the eyes of my little sister. For a few days I followed her around our ranch in Tonganoxie, Kansas, and eventually on to our grandparent’s ranch in Allen, Kansas. The story not only tackled the debate head on it may just have ended up being one of the most rewarding stories in my young career.

In this week’s video blog, the DeHoff family shows us what farming and ranching is really all about.
~Courtenay DeHoff



6 thoughts on “On the Horizon: Child labor laws – We’re talking about a way of life”

  1. You might want to read the proposed change to policies. No one is threatening children who work on their family’s farm! No one is talking about a child who starts early, rests often, and has access to shade, water, and other BASIC NEEDS while working!
    These policies protects HUNDREDS of kids who are being trafficked by crew leaders from state to state; worked from dawn to dusk; left HOURS without potable water in horribly hot/dangerous heat indexes; who live with unrelated people; who are often paid less than adults; who DO NOT travel with their parents nor do they even KNOW whose land they are working on! JEEZ. If this very small example of yours was representative of the truth – we would not even EXIST! The truth is much darker than your reality for hundreds of thousands of kids!

    1. The fact is that the proposed law changes jeopardize many young adults the opportunity to gain real-life experiences in the field of agriculture UNLESS they grow up in a family farm situation. For those of us who did, we are fortunate, grateful, and appreciate what agriculture means to this state. While I am not doubting that your examples do exist, adding laws and regulations for people that have no regard for the law anyway will not solve that problem. We do not want to deprive our young adults the chance to learn a skill at an early age, develop work ethics, and develop an appreciation for an occupation they may spend their whole life doing. If these regulations go into effect, maybe they can find a job as an xbox game programer. That will be about all they will be familiar with.

      1. Kurt, I appreciate you writing to address NC Field Volunteer’s concerns. Thanks to both of you for helping educate the public with your discourse.

  2. What a great video that really shows people the day to day life on the ranch. The government does not stop to “think” when issuing new regulations, they just do it so someone can feel justified in the salary they are earning.

    1. Travis, I agree. I grew up on a small farm and our summers were filled with “child labor.” I can’t imagine how our family would have gotten the work done, although I know they would have, but we helped how we could…and I think SO many life lessons were taught as a result.

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