Fingers to the Bone: Child Farmworkers in the United States

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We like to think of agriculture as good,
clean, outside work. Something healthy and wholesome and outdoors and kids working for their families farms and helping out when they can. Reality is today farm work
is something completely different. I started working when I was 11 years old. It feels like you don’t have no choices. You don’t you don’t feel the same as
other kids. There are hundreds of thousands of children working on U.S. farms and many kids who are working are working on large commercial farms. The child labor law in the U.S. is pretty good, except when it comes to agriculture. And then it has a big gaping hole. US law allows children to work in agriculture, at far younger ages for unlimited hours outside of school in much more dangerous conditions than any other sector. So a child can work perfectly legally for any farmer at age 12, That child couldn’t work serving the food that he can work 10 12 14 hours picking. Farm work is actually the most dangerous
occupation that’s open to kids in the U.S. in terms of fatalities. Kids are
working with dangerous and sharp tools doing work that may require them to be
bent down for hours. I’ve talked to kids who’ve worked in 14 states around the U.S. and kids told me about the toll that this work takes on their bodies. The airplane flew over the field and began spraying on the field and I didn’t know what the spray, what the spray contained or what it was. The drift was coming towards our field because it was windy. And I’m thinking oh it’s just water it is making the crops grow better. Now pesticide exposure isn’t good for for
any farm workers, but it’s especially bad for children whose bodies are still developing. Farm worker families are typically very very poor and kids told me that they worked in order to put food on the table or to fix the family’s
truck or to pay the phone bill. Kids are working because their families really need the money. When children work so many hours during school and over the summers it really hurts their education. Kids who migrate leave school early and
go back to school. They’re missing weeks or months at school every year. These kids are from Texas where school started three days ago. Now some of these kids
will enroll in Michigan schools when those start up in a couple of weeks. Others will just wait till they get back down to Texas. It was hard to catch up in school. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t easy for me because like my — sometimes I’ll be there in class and my friends know everything I didn’t know. And it was hard and kind of sometimes I feel like embarrassed, because I never catch up
with them. Kids are also working because it’s legal. US law presents it as a
legitimate choice for family to send their kids after work. and employers are free to hire them. Do they pay each person — yeah they pay as much each person. So even like your twelve-year-old daughters gonna make… They pay her. Yeah they pay her. Like she’s 12 so he probably won’t make the check under her name because she doesn’t have any ID or anything to cash the check so that he’ll just probably put it
in my check. The Fair Labor Standards Act is US federal law that among other
things prohibits child labor. But when the law was passed, a big exception was
left for Agriculture. In 1938, a lot of Americans lived on family farms and far fewer Americans graduated from high school, or needed a high school diploma. Today the picture is different but the the loophole remains. It’s not right that these kids — and including me that I’m…that I lost my childhood and other children shouldn’t lose their childhood as well. When I turned 14 that’s when I drop
out from school and went to the strawberries in Florida. And then we came back to Ohio and did the — and started working on the pickles, harvesting. But it really hasn’t been easy. Right now there’s a bill pending in Congress called the Care Act, it’s a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to apply the same rules to kids working
in agriculture, as kids working in any other sector. A lot of people worked beans
or the tasseled corn or the other kinds of farm work than they were teenagers. But the Care Bill is about protecting the most vulnerable kids. Not kids are who doing tours but young kids who are working for such long hours and compromising their
health and their education.


  1. All I see is a generation-spanning vicious cycle. Who in their right mind allows their kids to drop out of school at age 14 to work the farm? What happened to but at least you can pay attention in school in hopes of trying to get outta this mess?

  2. yes. stop making farmers kids work.
    bring in more immigrants in and make them work for low wages.
    or raise the food prices even more.

  3. consumers around the world should be grateful to all these people working on farms……. we can eat thanks to them.

  4. if we need fruit pickers from ol' mehico, then bring 'em in LEGALLY!! and TEMPORARILY!! without their fat wives or stupid kids. then our schools and roads don't get overloaded. underpay the scum, and kick 'em the fuck out when the picking is done. they don't have to come here if they don't like the deal. what's the issue?

  5. Rothschild and rocafelers agenda.. poison in ur childrens.. same as chemtrails…
    but the white kkk plp hate Jews and trump love them… the politician's hate the world. new world order is real shit going on…

  6. Anyone know why the CARE act keeps getting referred to the subcommittee on Workforce Protections? Why hasn't this been passed yet? Props to Rep. Roybal-Allard for bringing it back every year but damn, this goes back to at least 2009 and it still hasn't passed?!

  7. speaking for my mother's whole family, field laborer work is not a job they wish to relive. my mother and her siblings worked along side their parents, and that life leaves you feeling hopeless. No this is not a job for children. The pesticides alone, pose significant health risks, even for adults. I think the whole system needs to be re invented. But child labor like this is not okay.

  8. The labor laws apply to US CITIZENS it has nothing to do with these people who are ILLEGAL aliens. And she proposes no solution, should we not only give them free schooling but housing and food as well?

  9. Wow. This is not how they should be working. You have to wear jeans and shoes and something to cover their head also they should be wearing long sleeve shirts.

  10. I mean i am part of a family like this and i have worked since i was 8 and it hurts seeing our President talk so bad about us all we want is peace and freedom

  11. How come white Americans aren't doing these jobs? Did these kids steal these jobs away from white Americans so they can sit at home watch TV and collect welfare? Kick these Mexi-cans out and give these jobs to White Americans!!! But will they take these jobs???

  12. are they kidding me? the most dangerous job? this kids should try working in commercial kitchen. its the only hell you can visit during your lifetime. I've been working in kitchen since I was 15.

  13. This kids are strong as fu({. Future líders of America the native people the color brown or how European said red skins.

  14. I’m just pissed that this is actually a thing. In the United States for 12 years old can work on the farms where’s the child labor department. I’m surprised about it.

  15. The majority of these children are illegal immigrants. It is a shame the way they are exploited for cheap labor because employers can get away with it because these kids can be threatened with deportation. We need the wall to stop these kids from being exploited as basically slave labor. Cesar Chavez and the UFW fought hard to stop this kind of exploitation. But as long as we have lacks immigration enforcement people will be used like slaves, it is sickening.

  16. There is nothing wrong with children working in the fields. The problem is that these children should be in the own birth country working and not here. When a parent come to work he or she should earn money and send a portion back home to their families. The reason why we wish you to leave is that fact parents came to work not have other families.

  17. Laws say they are addressing child protection in America and like in the Philippines. But they don't give free education to children.

  18. I started working in Michigan at age 4 (1969) when we would migrate there from Texas. I used to bitch about doing this type of work every year I did it until the age of 15, but now I realize that it was one hell of an opportunity for the family to work for a common goal and to bond. You make the best of it and try to improve yourself, so that you don't have to do this all your life. To tell you the truth, I miss it, especially the time before the government tried to regulate the farmers up north. I know they were trying to improve the working conditions, but you know what they say about good intentions. I actually took my wife and one of my kids up to Michigan a couple of years ago to visit the old working quarters and fields. They could not understand that type of life, but to me it was like visiting my home away from home. I believe that if every American family would experience one summer working in the fields, they would develop a sense of appreciation of the simple things in life like family, teamwork, community, character, etc.

  19. this isnt fair , i always try to work at these places and you have to be bilingual. really not fair, because my high school didnt provide learning a language! why isnt this video about the terrible pesticides being sprayed. and the way we havent had natural cloud formation in decades due to wet surface air coolers, Haarp, gwen towers and aerosol chemicals sprayed in the clouds! seriously decades. so b e concerned that our weather has been taken over by corporations/government/evil c i a dudes.

  20. Do those Hispanics and immigrants have better conditions in their Hispanic country's?!
    I worked like that from 12-17years.

  21. Let them in they will do the jobs Americans do not want to do. They shouldnt have to do the jobs Americans do not want to do, they should live the good life and you racist white males in squalor.

  22. Heyy assholes!! who harvest the earth land or what ever you whant to call it that person its the owner of that land……..

  23. I want to be a famer From US.. why do we belittle farmer.. without them not even an officer can survive.. his money can never buy a sand or stone for survival.. Encourage a farmer, create more opportunities for them.. when our heart is beautiful.. our world becomes beautiful.. every person is worth living in their own way.. love human, change the world.

  24. I started working when I was 6. I did this every summer almost everyday. It was tough but morally and ethically enriching

  25. School is boring. Most kids and adults can learn everything taught in schools in a few days (reading, simple math) on computers. But it's the wage slave capitalist system that forces us all to work or starve, the definition of slavery: controlled by someone or something. Freedom would be when every person has a guaranteed income, and can then work part-time, at something, but mostly at doing something that gives survival, food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care. But working then would be easier, safer…and people of all ages could then do things that are fun! And good exercise, because if they don't and they'd just sit around eating &they'll get obese. Americans don't even know how to have fun. Learning to dance, for example, would be a must so that marriages could put people together who can have fun dancing together, things in common to talk about, spending more time together, raising their own children. In our current system, no one knows how to have fun or get exercise. So every person should have a guaranteed income so that no one is forced to work or starve.

    Then child labor couldn't happen if USA (richest nation) would destroy wage slavery and give every human on Earth a guaranteed income. Every person needs one immediately, and now it's possible with computers! Here's capitalism in the Bible:
    Rev 13:17 buying and selling is the mark of the beast= capitalism, work or starve, slavery.
    It's the opposite of giving every person a GUARANTEED INCOME.

  26. The creators of this video have no concept of how a commercially viable farm works. Farm kids have waaaaaaaaay more money and freedom than most other kids. Do you think their parents just breed so children can pick acres of weeds? That would cost way more money than just doing things the industry standard way. Everything is done with equipment now. Kids this age are given basic chores to teach them to be responsible. Teenagers often operate and maintain equipment, but that sure beats being a peon at MCDs or Walmart… Most farm kids in the 30+ places I have lived are actually spoiled. Some are good kids, but those are the ones who's parents worked them. This video is retarded.

  27. Do all you realize this will never change unless you grow your own shit or stop eating?
    It has and always will be this if you want food off that convenient little shelf or cooler at Whole Foods.
    You can all say what you will, they're not getting education they're being exploited this is unfair.
    WTF??? Go out and do it yourself, if you find this appalling.
    Fucking people actually work at these shitty jobs and have pride in what they do, it's a shitty job only if you let it be one.
    You wouldn't be so happy if you actually had to do this and pull a moment of your cushy lifestyle of pre packaged dead animal and fruits and vegetables waiting ready to make after you come home from your hard laboring day working at your air conditioned office jobs..
    This is the real world and if you want to change it go out and do it, half your kids don't know what a lawn mower a shovel or a garbage can is made for.
    Tight ass fake bleeding hart Prima Donnas that think the world should be how you think it should be from behind a plastic keyboard.
    Oh and if this would all come perfectly together the way you think it should be.
    Be prepared pay the price at the checkout line when the poor exploited minimum wage laborer cashier hands you the bill.
    Are immigrants who become legal citizens still doing this sort of work?
    Would you be willing to do this sort of work?
    I don't think so, so STFU and be self absorbed and privileged.

  28. I used too do this type of work when I was young I’m An Irish/American not all farm laborers are from South America FYI it was on a smaller farm but still hard work even by adult standards. Bent over all day usually in mud no shade 14hrs some days and ancient equipment. I took the job by choice though the farmer was an awesome guy he would bend over backwards for you. Gave me free ice cream let me run tractors occasionally. It over all was a very good experience and I think all young people should do this kind of work even for a short time they could learn a lot about work ethic that most people my age don’t have.

  29. No American kid would ever work that hard. The only thing American kids know is playing video games. No kid should be working that hard at that young age. I don’t care what race you are. The kids jobs are going to school and that’s it. The parents are the ones that should work to provide.

  30. I started working since I was 10 cutting blueberries then I did tobacco and that teached me the value of hard work and I did it to help my parents

  31. At 2:31 in the video, it's what's known as "EL CAMPO BLANCO" in Parrish Florida, also known as Whisenant Farms. The farm is owned by the Whisenant Family. It has been closed for a few years now.
    My family and I lived there for about 15 years. At the age of 13 you had to work in the tomato fields and the packing house. Chemicals were often sprayed in the fields for the crops to grow.

    I truly believe my mother develop beast cancer because of the use of chemicals in the fields.

  32. Tell you what, I would not work the fields for nothing in the world. These guys work hard. They deserve a work permit.


  34. This very very very funny in the mid 60 i was working in the fields. I was not even in elementary. With my parents. All the way ubtill i was in middle school. 7th grade. Where was the Media then. Even after HIGH SCHOOL. And i live in Texas. 30 miles of the Mexican Border. But that was life back then. We had to work if we wanted money to spend. Got my first job in 11 grade work ever since! So why all this crying! The best thing to do is start. GIVE ME MONEY FUND FOR THIS CHILDREN!! WHAT DO YOU THINK. I THINK IM GOING TO 😢 CRY!!!!

  35. It’s okay because eventually these farmers will switch to growing hemp soon enough. Tobacco causes too much health problems both for the user and the farmers. Hemp doesn’t require pesticide.

  36. You're making comments without understanding the dynamic of a pour family. Number 1 is food and shelter. These kids are doing what is needed to be doing. I speak from experience i gladly helped the family. No birth control in my day. So if the difference is going back to no job countries, no education at all and the chance to go partially on a full stomach. Keep your suggestion to yourself ylu don't know the struggle.

  37. moms family did this….the 101 freeway as you enter oxnard..apt complex east side used to be open fields..decades ago under there buried are 3 of her siblings .

  38. Kids ninos please wearing proper protective…shoes, cover sleeves, masks to protect inhaling those toxins pesticides on the crops

  39. Do the illegal immigrants work like that in their country of origin. If so why do you complain about your situation. If you don't like it go back to your country. The loop hole is a congressional matter. Remember our laws apply to citizens not illegal immigrants.


  41. It's 2019, and from I'm reading there are still no laws in the US to protect against child labour in agriculture.

  42. theres some things you did rong like kids are wilingly working beause there family would starve or go in debt or not get something fixed if the dont they are doing it wilingly and you showed them smiling in the feilds and playing and having fun and close ups with them sad you show adults working to and wouldnt the farms tell the kids to stay away from the spray in the fields because not would be exposing kids to dangourous chemicals and I dont think thats legal I feel like you say they pay the parents is a negite thing but that wouldnt be because you said the kids are doing to help there parents because there family is poor

  43. just saying your defintion is almost the same as a kid doing dishes there are daungous chemicals dish deturgent they have to bend down to get dishes bending down alot can take a toll and there is sharp tools drop a dish lot of shards on the ground knifes forks they dont usauly get paid they could be embarsed in front of kids because they have to o that

  44. you guys said they have to work there because there parents are to poor and need there kids to work to you could cause those children to starve if you that away because no money no food

  45. you say its not to protect kids doing chore but to help kids who work relly hard turns yout farming work is a chore picking fruits and vetgatible is realy a chore tend to aniamals is to

  46. the ag industry needs a well regulated guest worker program. end birthright citizenship for illegals. require e verify by law. prosecute employers that hire illegals. end daca. build the wall. maga.

  47. Yep only Mexicans kids.  I wonder if they show this in American schools and put it on the news, how our reaction would be in our society

  48. Look, no stupid ass maga loving trumpturds working there. They sure do love to complain about people taking their jobs.

  49. Shouldn't these kids be enrolled in school unless they want to help their parents during the summertime when they don't have school.

  50. sir my name is Varun Kumar and i am from India and i am interested in this work and i have 4 years experience in farm line. Sir i am a humble and hard working man i can do all kinds of work and i want work with you.please provide me this job . I am ready for this work in all the condition.. sir.i hope I will get a good response from you.. Thanks and god bless you sir..

  51. All the credit to the kids for learning the value of hard work at a young age, however a child can't be deprived of an education.

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