The Best Letter That I Never Had To Mail…

There has been extensive talk in the Feed Yard Foodie house over the past six months regarding the proposed changes to the Department Of Labor regulations concerning individuals under the age of 18 working on farms.  As many of you might guess, these changes would have affected our family tremendously.  In fact, one of the proposed changes would have made it illegal for my daughters to be at my cattle feed yard even if they were under my supervision.

I became a little bit excited early this week when I received word that the Department of Labor was thinking of moving forward on these changes even though thousands of farmers had written letters asking them to discard them.  Actually, I think that my girls would tell you that my hair turned a unique red color that shines through only when I get angry…

As a result of some intense family discussions regarding the proposed labor changes, Megan decided to sit down Wednesday evening and write a letter to Department of Labor Secretary Solis.  Last night, the Department of Labor issued a statement that they were planning to discard the proposed labor changes.  When I received word that Sec. Solis was not moving forward with the changes, Megan’s carefully crafted words became, quite possibly, the best letter that I never had to mail…

A special thank you to Katie Ardnt for taking this wonderful picture of my little cowgirl and her beloved horse...

Dear Department of Labor Secretary Solis:

 My name is Megan Anne Burkholder and I am 10 years old. I live in a little town called Cozad which is in Nebraska.  It is a little bit west of being smack dab in the middle of the United States of America. My family has about 3000 acres of land. My daddy farms and grows alfalfa and makes it into dehydrated animal feed pellets.  

My mom has a cattle feed yard a few miles from our house.  Almost every day I go to my mommy’s feed yard and sometimes I help her exercise cattle (if I do not have school). I have so much fun and she teaches me a lot!  I learn how to understand and care for cattle.  Cattle are prey animals and they think very differently from the way that I do.  Because my mom teaches me how to understand cattle, I stay safe when I help her to handle them.  She shows me how to communicate with the animals so that I learn how to take good care of them.  This is important because well cared for cattle make AWESOME beef!  That’s what I love to eat!

My mom has special safety rules at her feed yard so that I stay safe.  I am her daughter and my safety is important to her.  I have learned how important it is to follow directions and also how to work hard.  I love being at the feed yard! It is like a second home! Everyone at the feed yard is like family–even though they are not blood related to my sisters and I—Mama’s crew of guys is wonderful.  They teach me important things too.

I hope that for the rest of my life I will get to go to her feed yard to help.  But, my mom tells me that you are changing labor regulations so that I will not be allowed to go to the feed yard with her anymore.  Why are you doing that?  It does not make any sense to me.  Our farm is our life, and I want to be a part of it.  The time that I spend with my mom is special and I do not want to give it up.  Please do not make it illegal for me to help my mom care for her cattle.  You can go to our family’s website and see pictures of me helping my mom.  The link is


Megan Anne Burkholder





Filed under Family, General

12 responses to “The Best Letter That I Never Had To Mail…

  1. Dawn

    Oh, Anne….your children are such a great testiment to your love and guidance!

  2. Anne,

    It seems to me that there is a large concern among government workers to get their agendas completed prior to the election year, just in case Romney wins. There are other miscues in other Federal government departments that the White House seems to be squashing as they come up. A good example outside the U.S. Beef industry is the EPA’s comment about ‘crucifying’ U.S. Oil.

    U.S. Beef is, apparently, not the only sinners out there that the social inquisition needs to destroy.

    Instead of having an issue during the election year, I believe President Obama’s campaign staff is muzzling a lot of these issues that appear to be rocking the boat prior to the election. It probably was NOT the thousands of letters from cattlemen themselves. Some clever staffer has said, “Do we really need to tick off the cattlemen this year, or can it wait until next year?”

    Therefore, I think these fast turn-arounds are more telling of what will happen after the election, depending on who wins.


    To those that don’t like my Fox reference, I could not find a good reference on a Liberal site.

  3. Jeff Meyer

    Another example of a well rounded, educated, articulate and very thoughtful kid…probably gets it from her parents and the actual experiences that growing up in rural America provide…who would have thought that the people, the parents and the kids actually doing it may know a little more than those without a clue…maybe the parents are actually in a better position to make decisions…but perhaps if more kids were exposed to the world…the real one,.. digress…but I do know one person from a single parent home, but with a strong family, who never would have made it to where they are today without that family and the lessons learned working in agricultural America…agaion I digress, but apoparently the people who want to make these rules simply don’t care about individual sucess based on experience, hard work, and strong family…

  4. Carol

    Well done, Megan! Great letter!

  5. Kari Gillespie

    That was very well written, we need to keep that kid in the beef industry for sure!

  6. Anne, I am thankful you didn’t have to mail Megan’s letter. The proposed regulations are out of touch with American farming families. I hate to cry discrimination, but if the shoe fits…

  7. Donna Haake, DVM

    Anne, Mail the letter anyway. That’s my suggestion.

  8. Steve Duke

    Yes mail the letter….I mailed mine a couple of months because I currently have my 12 year old nephew helping me because he wants too! How else can you teach without actually being there hands on? I demand safety because what good would it do for him to get hurt and I would just feel terrible and probably couldn’t live with myself. The other day I got a response from my US Rep. Loesack saying that he was very concerned about this regulation effects on agriculture and is directly talking DoL dept.

  9. what a wonderful well written letter, I think it should be mailed. It might help someone understand the relationship farmers, ranchers have with there children. My son in law is a farmer here in Florida and he takes the kids with him to work some days, he is super careful about here safety and cares for them like no one else would do.

  10. Thanks to everyone for your comments on Megan’s letter. I have passed them along to Megan so that she can see them. I did also decide to send the letter to the Secretary, and hope that it will help to ensure that the proposed regulations remain withdrawn.


  11. What a wonderful letter! I am a first year college student and have worked on my family farm since I could walk. My dad, just like you, taught me the safety of working around cattle and horses. Without those techniques that I learned from hard work, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I definitely wouldn’t have the patience and determination that I learned!

    Where the Blacktop Begins

  12. Pingback: Americans Need To Engage… | Feed Yard Foodie

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