For decades, the federal agency overseeing workplace safety has been prohibited from regulating small farming operations. But lawmakers in South Dakota and other farm states have grown concerned and are seeking to head off any effort to change decades of precedent.
In recent days, members of Congress from both parties have warned the Obama administration that only Congress can approve changes allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to inspect small farms.
Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to express alarm at reports that some operations with less than 10 employees might be getting federal scrutiny.
Since 1976 Congress has banned OSHA from regulating small farm operations with 10 or fewer employees.