In the Portland Press Herald, Mary Pols has a smart look at how the ridiculous complexities of labor law are interfering with farmers trying to make a living in Maine. There's a small farm exemption for agricultural workers, but if the worker runs a credit card or sells an apple pie at a farm stand, turns milk into yoghurt, or drives a truck or tractor to pick up crops from a neighboring farm, the Fair Labor Standards Act applies. From the story: "Does anyone really understand this stuff, besides lawyers and bureaucrats?...rejuvenated interest in farming has been good for Maine's economy, but it's also created nebulous new situations where farmers – and their employees – might be violating labor laws without even realizing it."
The story quotes one farmer, Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm in Vermont, who was raided by the Department of Labor. Mr. Lazor says, "I think the best thing to do is stay small and not hire anybody."