PROMO Government - USDA United States Department of Agriculture Building Washington DC - iStock - Melissa Kopka

USDA to gather data about on-farm labor 

© iStock - Melissa Kopka

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey during the second half of October. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 1,300 farms and ranches in the Mountain Region states of Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. 

“Agricultural labor data are critical in helping producers when hiring workers and estimating expenses,” said Rodger Ott, Acting Director, Mountain Regional Field Office. “The data that farm operators provide through NASS’s Agricultural Labor Survey also allow federal policymakers to base farm labor policies on accurate information.” 

USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wages for agricultural workers, administer farm labor recruitment and placement service programs, and assist legislators in determining labor policies. 

In the survey, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about hired farm labor on their operations, including total number of hired farm workers, total hours worked, base wage rate, and total gross wages paid for the weeks of July 10-16 and October 9-15. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online. 

“By asking about two separate time periods each time we collect data during the year, we are able to publish quarterly data and capture seasonal variation,” said Ott. “This approach reduces the number of times we survey farm businesses while ensuring that accurate and timely data are available.” 

As with all NASS surveys, the results of this survey will be available in aggregate form only, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results November 23.