Farm awards focus on good relationships

Happy 4th of July, Tribune Chronicle readers.

The month of June was a wet one in northeast Ohio. However, it looks as if the crops in Trumbull County have fared much better than neighboring counties. The month of July will be an important one for our crops. I hope to see more heat and less rain in the forecast for this month.

As we enjoy the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I would like to share information on good neighbor awards which will be presented in Ohio and provide legal details about employing youth on the farm.

Building good relationships between farmers and their community is a prime focus of the Ohio Livestock Council. As a result, the organization in partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Credit Mid-America, is recognizing two kinds of rural residents with Neighbor of the Year awards. One will go to a farmer and one will go to a non-farmer. The winners will be individuals who have positively developed and enhanced relationships between neighbors in Ohio’s farm communities.

To qualify for the farmer award, the individual should be a livestock farmer who makes it a priority to educate neighbors about their operation and process. Basically, it means that farmers should be courteous of their neighbors and educate them on what they do and why they do it, especially for those who may be unfamiliar with livestock and farming.

To qualify for the rural resident award, the individual should keep his or her property neat and clean and be respectful of private property and the need for farmers to safeguard their business to help preserve the rural landscape that everyone enjoys.

Nominations are due by Aug. 1 to the OLC office. Awards will be presented at the 16th OLC Annual Meeting and Industry Symposium on Sept. 6. Award winners will receive a plaque and $250 will be donated to each recipient’s favorite local charity of choice. For more information or to obtain an application, contact Amy Hurst at 614-246-8262

It’s hay and straw season, which creates a high need to employ youth on the farm to throw these bales around. Peggy Hall, OSU Ag Attorney, recently wrote an article on this subject. The full article can be found at her blog site at ohioaglaw.

The relationship of the minor you are hiring is important because the law treats your own children and grandchildren differently than non-related children working on your farm. If the minor you hire is your own child or grandchild, the law allows you to have the child do any type of job, including agricultural jobs considered “hazardous” under state and federal labor laws.

For other children, age matters as it determines what type of work you may assign the child. Only youth 16 and older may perform many farm jobs because they are considered hazardous. Youth 14-15 may only perform hazardous jobs if they have a 4-H or vocational agriculture certificate of completion for tractor operation or machine operation and the employer keeps a copy of the certificate on file with the minor employee’s record. And youth younger than 14 may not perform any job listed as hazardous unless certain provisions are met.

So what farm jobs are “hazardous?” On the farm this would include: operating a tractor with more than 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from such a tractor. So basically this rules out being around most tractors and implements which we use on farms today. Hazardous also means the youth cannot work on a farm which has bull, boar or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes, a sow with suckling pigs, or a cow with a newborn calf with umbilical cord present. It also restricts them from riding on a tractor.

If you violate the law, you can be found guilty of a third degree misdemeanor for allowing a minor under the age of 16 to perform a hazardous job on your farm; penalties are up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail for each violation. I would encourage any farmer who hires minor labor to read Peggy’s full article online. It explains in great detail all the complex rules.

I would like to close today’s column with a quote from Sam Ewing who stated, “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all.”

Marrison is associate professor and extension educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension. He can be reached at 440-576-9008 or marrison.2@