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Ag labor by region – where wages are heading

Progressive Forage Editor Lynn Jaynes Published on 07 June 2019

Farm labor wages have increased over the past year, according to the recent USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service in a report released May 30, 2019. 

Hired workers were classified as anyone (other than an agricultural service worker) who was paid for at least one hour of agricultural work on a farm or ranch. All hired workers were paid an average wage of $14.71 per hour, up 7% from April 2018. 

Field workers were classified as employees engaged in planting, tending and harvesting crops, including operation of farm machinery on crop farms. Field workers received an average of $13.80 per hour, up 8% from the 2018 April reference week.

Livestock workers were classified as employees tending livestock, milking cows or caring for poultry, including operation of farm machinery on livestock or poultry operations. Livestock workers earned $13.61 per hour, up 6%. 

All workers averaged 40.7 hours per week, up 1% from April 2018. 

Table 1 shows wages paid by farm type. An operation is classified in the farm type that accounts for the largest portion of the total gross value of sales for its agricultural production.

 labor table

Field crop workers in the Northern Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) garnered the highest wage at an average of $17.06 per hour, an increase of 10% over 2018.

Benefits, such as housing and meals provided to some workers, were not included in wage rate analysis.  end mark

Lynn Jaynes
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