Archived Webinar: Implications of a Changing Farm Workforce for U.S. Agriculture


View recording here of the archived webinar. Summary: Various forces are accelerating an ever-declining farm labor supply and increasing costs, which will have a profound influence over the next decade on U.S. farms that use hired labor. A strong economy and a decline in immigrant labor have both reduced the available pool of farmworkers. Even if an expanded guestworker program is put in place to address labor shortages, this would only solve the supply problem -- wages would likely not decrease. Further, often missing from farm labor discussions is the role of state labor regulations, which lead to non-marginal wage increases in some states. 2/3 of all U.S.-grown produce (fruits and vegetables) is grown in states that will have legislated substantial minimum wage increases. Non-wage labor regulations are also increasing in some key states. This briefing will include (1) a summary of farm labor trends and existing research, (2) guestworker programs overview, including costs and the “prevailing wage”, (3) state labor laws affecting agriculture, and (4) future research and policy implications.