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USDA asks farmers to fill out labor survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey later this month.

Greg Thessen is USDA-NASS Upper Midwest Regional Director.

He says the survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 440 Iowa farmers and ranchers.

“The beginning of the year is the time when agricultural producers plan out the rest of their growing seasons and is a great time to assess on-farm labor needs. “The data that farm operators provide through NASS’s Agricultural Labor Survey helps federal policymakers base labor policies on accurate information.”

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

Thessen says these surveys are important because they are used to administer programs to help farmers.

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 January 8-14 and April 9-15. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online.

“By asking about two separate time periods each of the two times we collect data during the year, we are able to publish quarterly data and capture seasonal variation,” Thessen said. “This approach helps us ensure that anyone using our data can conduct more accurate analyses.” NASS will publish survey results in the May 18 Farm Labor report.