JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Children younger than 16 could avoid future federal regulation and continue to work on their parents' Missouri farms under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.
The measure signed on Friday responds to the federal government's proposed rules last year that would have prevented children from doing certain agricultural work. That proposal was eventually scrapped, but the Missouri Legislature moved forward and passed legislation preventing such regulation anyway.
The bill exempts children doing farm work from getting a work certificate and from limits on the number of hours and days they can work. Children would only need the consent of their parents to work on the family's farm. It was sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Munzlinger, of Williamstown.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Farmers in the nation's breadbasket who only recently were praying for an end to a withering drought are now pining for enough sunshine and heat to dry their muddy fields in time to plant their corn and other crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says only 12 percent of the nation's cornfields have been planted. That's about a quarter of the amount farmers had planted by this point in the season over the last five years.
In Iowa, which is the nation's biggest corn producer, only 8 percent of the corn crop is in the ground. That's down from 62 percent at this point last year.
Farmer John Reifsteck says if he has to wait much longer, he may have to plant less corn on his 1,800-acre central Illinois farm.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois farmers still can't begin planting their corn crops due to muddy fields caused by the heavy rains that inundated the state in recent weeks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that as of Monday there's been no significant planting done in Illinois because many fields are simply too wet for farmers to get out in them in tractors.
The USDA says just 1 percent of the state's corn crop has been sown. This time last year, three-quarter of the state's cornfields were planted, more than double the five-year average of 36 percent.
Nationwide among key farming states, 4 percent of the corn crop is in the ground, down from 49 percent a year ago at this time.