"Outside of school they can work unlimited hours," Pitts noted. He said that in 1938, "Most farms were small, family operations and child labor was considered necessary." Now some disagree. "We feel the age of 12 is really, really young," said Norma Frances Lopez of the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, who picked corn as a child.
The employers' side was represented by Frank Gasperini of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, who said child labor probably isn't necessary for farm productivity but provides opportunity for work, and western North Carolina vegetable farmer Keith Darnell, who said, "I don't see anything wrong with it. ... I picked when I was 12, worked for $1 an hour. It was hard, but it didn't hurt me." The story's web page is here.