Lapps (Part II)

Sun Jun 22 16:35:45 MDT 1997

From:   NAME: Bill White
        TEL: 326/371                          <WHITE, BILL AT A1 AT JCCV03>
To:     IN%"rushtalk at"@MRGATE at JCCW22

        I'm continuing my transcription of the POST JOURNAL article on the Lapp
family.  Part II:

        Twenty-five years ago the Lapps, including 11 children, purchased their
375 acre farm with savings earned from years of share-cropping, migrant jobs,
and other types of farm labor.  After leaving the Amish community, they held
steadfast to religious teachings.  In the mid-1980's the family added a retail
fruit and vegetable market to supplement the family's dairy operation.
        They hired a tax accountant, filed proper employment forms, and paid
employment taxes.
        However, as the business grew, part-time employment was provided to
youth in the community.  Also, the younger Lapps became involved with work on
the farm.  Some received hourly wages and others swapped labor for rent and
        Further complications were added when youngsters in the community -
some below the age of 12 - were allowed to work, sometimes for cash and
sometimes for other compensations.
        In her address, Susan Lapp ecplained that child labor laws do not
permit youngsters under 12 to work.
        "They cannot even pick berries or sweep a barn," she said.
Furthermore, Ms. Lapp said, youngsters of 12 and 13 years of age are permitted
to work only four hours per day.  And they may only work from between the hours
of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m."
        "Those hours are not realistic on a farm, where it often is too hot to
work in the field during the day. Our fruit stand opens at 9 a.m., so that
means we must have strawberries and produce gathered before we open."
        "Also," she said, "haying can't start until late afternoon on most
days, because that's when it's dry. . . ."
        Ms. Lapp said her family believed strongly in leading a helping hand to
youngsters who needed and wanted work.  But for every child who worked, the
family had to fill out forms called  "work agreements," of how many hours of
work was expected, what type of work would be required, and what wages would be
paid, including all forms of payment.  Ms. Lapp said this meant that meals and
all types of payment had to be listed.
        Ms. Lapp said the record-keeping became very complicated and the fact
that work projects were often diverse and sporadic added to the burden of
maintaining accurate records.
        Finally Mr. Lapp said it became literally impossible to keep "truthful
records," with friends and family pitching in on an informal and regular basis.
        Then one day, Ms. Lapp said, her sister Lydia, who was responsible for
keeping records, pointed out "the forms we were filing were lies."
        "We had to face the fact that we could not accurately or truthfully
provide the information required on the forms," Ms. Lapp said.  "We had to make
a choice;  either say we were not hiring any more people, or quit filing
income tax and worker records."

End of Part 2

Bill White

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