The White House is stepping up efforts to crackdown on farmers who hire children and under pay their itinerant farm workers to harvest crops. To accomplish the crackdown the government has hired an additional 250 investigators and imposed large fines for farmers found to be hiring children.
Human rights activists have long called for government action to stop the use of children in harvesting crops instead of going to school and in many cases working in dangerous environments with toxic pesticides. It is not uncommon to see entire families working the field harvesting crops from apple to peppers. There is still a law on U.S. books that allow summer agricultural workers to be as young as 12 years old; the crackdown involves using child labor younger than 12. Congress is considering new legislation that would change this and only allow 14 and 15 year olds to work in the field with limited hours. The American Farm Bureau continues to oppose any new legislation that would remove children from working on farms.