Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Farm Bureau Encourages Farmers to Participate in USDA Labor Survey

News / FBNews April 17, 2020

Credit: USDA, CC BY 2.0  

The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging farmers to respond to a USDA survey about farm workers’ hours and wages. The survey information is used to provide accurate measures of the farm labor force and wages paid, which affect labor program wage rates such as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate. In addition, USDA and the Department of Labor use the data to estimate the demand for and the availability of seasonal agricultural workers.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2020 Agricultural Labor Survey was mailed to almost 38,000 randomly selected farms and ranches that had previously reported having paid farm labor.

The April questionnaire asks for information covering two reference weeks, January 12-18 and April 12-18. NASS will mail an additional survey to producers in October that will ask for information about reference periods in July 12-18 and October 11-17. NASS will use the data from these four reference weeks to determine both quarterly and annual averages for wages and hours worked.

The survey asks for information about the number of hired workers on the farm; total number of base and overtime hours worked; total base, bonus and overtime wages; and total gross wages paid each week. Farmers should not report farm labor contractor employee data in their survey responses, which are due May 7.

NASS prefers online responses at agcounts.usda.gov. Respondents need the secure 17-digit survey code included with the survey to access and complete the survey.

As required by federal law, the results of the survey will be available in aggregate form only, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. NASS will publish the survey findings in the Farm Labor report, which is scheduled for release on May 28.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact NASS at 1-888-424-7828. For more details about the survey, using the data or NASS survey methodology, visit the Agricultural Labor Survey page.

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