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USDA Survey to Focus on Farm Labor
New York Ag Connection - 10/03/2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will continue its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey during the second half of October. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 1,400 Northeastern farmers.

"Labor data are critical to farming operations and data about the use of hired workers helps administer farm labor programs," said King Whetstone, Director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. "The data that farm operators provide through NASS's Agricultural Labor Survey helps leaders, associations, and farmers themselves make decisions based on accurate information."

USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor will use statistics gathered in the Agricultural Labor Survey to establish minimum wage rates 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, the average hours worked, and wage rates paid for the weeks of July 9-15 and Oct. 8-14. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online.

"By asking about two separate reference periods each time we collect data during the year, we are able to publish quarterly data and capture seasonal variation," said Whetstone. "This approach reduces the number of times we ask farm businesses to respond to surveys while ensuring that accurate and timely data are available for anyone conducting research or analyses."

NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results in the Nov. 16 Farm Labor report. All previous Farm Labor publications are available online at http://bit.ly/FarmLabor. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 800-498-1518.

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