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Julian Noses
Julian Noses

Agricultural Laborer

Most agricultural workers do not need a formal educational credential to enter these occupations; however, animal breeders typically need a high school diploma. Agricultural workers typically receive on-the-job training.

agricultural laborer

Despite limited employment growth, about 141,800 openings for agricultural workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Crop, nursery, and greenhouse farmworkers and laborers perform numerous tasks related to growing and harvesting grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other crops. They plant, seed, prune, irrigate, and harvest crops, and pack and load them for shipment.

Agricultural work may be dangerous. Although agricultural workers may be exposed to pesticides applied on crops or plants, the risk is minimized if workers follow safety procedures. Tractors and other farm machinery may cause serious injuries, so workers must stay alert. Additionally, agricultural workers who deal directly with animals risk being bitten, kicked, or stung.

Most agricultural workers do not need a formal educational credential to enter these occupations; however, animal breeders typically need at least a high school diploma. Agricultural workers typically receive on-the-job training.

Many agricultural workers receive short-term on-the-job training of up to 1 month. Employers instruct them on how to use simple farming tools and complex machinery while following safety procedures. Agricultural equipment operators may need more extensive training before being allowed to operate expensive farming equipment.

Some agricultural workers aspire to become farmers, ranchers, or agricultural managers or to own their own farms and ranches. Knowledge of produce and livestock may provide an excellent background for becoming buyers or purchasing agents of farm products. Those who earn a college degree in agricultural science could become agricultural or food scientists.

The median annual wage for agricultural workers was $29,680 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,170, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $39,660.

Employment of agricultural equipment operators is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations and faster than any other type of agricultural worker from 2021 to 2031. Increased use of mechanization on farms is expected to lead to more jobs for agricultural equipment operators relative to farmworkers and laborers.

EPA's Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) aims to reduce pesticide poisonings and injuries among agricultural workers and pesticide handlers. The WPS offers occupational protections to over 2 million agricultural workers and pesticide handlers who work at over 600,000 agricultural establishments. In 2015, EPA revised the WPS to decrease pesticide exposure incidents among farmworkers and their family members. Fewer incidents means a healthier workforce and fewer lost wages, medical bills and absences from work and school.

The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and recordkeeping. The MSPA also requires farm labor contractors to register with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For more general information on the MSPA, please see the Employment Law Guide or Fact Sheet 49.

In order to legally operate as farm labor contractors, individuals and companies must register with the U.S. Department of Labor. There are special registration requirements for farm labor contractors that intend to house, transport, or drive a migrant or seasonal agricultural worker. Application instructions and reference materials can be found online.

Under the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act of 2019, farm laborers became entitled to overtime premium pay starting on January 1, 2020, for any work that they perform in excess of 60 hours per week, and for work performed on their designated day of rest.

As required by the act, New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon convened a wage board comprised of the members listed below in 2020. Per the statute, the wage board was tasked with considering and making recommendations regarding the extent to which the overtime threshold for farm laborers can be lowered below 60 hours per week and whether any such reductions should be phased-in through a series of successively lower thresholds.

Candidate would be part of dynamic team of individuals that support the operational activities of a farm, field operation, or agricultural facility, maintains plant production, and maintenance to ensure operational efficiencies. Work is performed at the Lelah Starks Elite Foundation Seed Potato Farm in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. This position assists with activities such as potato seed grading, potato seed cutting, planting and harvesting (greenhouse and field) performed in the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. The UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is committed to maintaining and growing a culture that embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity, believing that these values are foundational elements of our excellence and fundamental components of a positive and enriching learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff.

A farmworker, farmhand or agricultural worker is someone employed for labor in agriculture. In labor law, the term "farmworker" is sometimes used more narrowly, applying only to a hired worker involved in agricultural production, including harvesting, but not to a worker in other on-farm jobs, such as picking fruit.

Canada as of 2010[update] had 297,683 agricultural employees; 112,059 were year-around and 185,624 were seasonal or temporary.[8] Qualifying employers in Canada can hire temporary foreign farmworkers from participating countries for periods of up to 8 months per calendar year for on-farm primary agriculture in specified commodity sectors, if the work involved totals at least 240 hours within a period of 6 weeks or less.[9] This Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, established in 1966, brings about 25,000 foreign workers to Canada each year. About 66 percent of those work in Ontario, 13 percent in Québec and 13 percent in British Columbia.[10]

Workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, being citizens of Mexico and various Caribbean countries,[9] tend to be Spanish-speaking. Between 1991 and 1996, in British Columbia, the number of South Asian agricultural workers increased from 3,685 to 5,685, mostly Punjabi-speaking.[11] Analysis published in 2000 indicated that "Of the 5,000 workers employed by the over 100 licensed Farm Labour Contractors in British Columbia, two-thirds were recent immigrants who entered Canada less than 3 years ago. Of the 700 harvest workers surveyed, 97 percent were Punjabi speaking"[11] (British Columbia did not participate in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program until 2004.[12]).

The Encuesta Nacional de Empleo estimated 2.7 million agricultural workers in Mexico. About a million are migrants. There is much use of seasonal and migrant agricultural labor in northwestern Mexico, because of the considerable fruit and vegetable production occurring in that region. Rough estimates of peak seasonal labor requirements for Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja California Norte and Sur are 400,000 to 600,000.[11]

Foreign agricultural workers temporarily admitted into the United States on H-2A visas are exempt from U.S. Social Security and Medicare taxes on compensation paid to them for services performed in connection with the H-2A visa. This is true whether they are resident aliens or nonresident aliens. In addition, compensation paid to H-2A agricultural workers for services performed in connection with the H-2A visa is not subject to mandatory withholding of U.S. federal income tax unless Backup Withholding applies.

Employers are not required to withhold U.S. federal income tax from compensation paid to an H-2A agricultural worker (unless Backup Withholding applies; see below); however, it is quite possible that the H-2A agricultural worker will owe U.S. federal income tax when he or she files a U.S. individual income tax return for the year. Employers can withhold federal income tax only if both the H-2A agricultural worker and the employer agree to withhold. The H-2A agricultural worker must provide a completed Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, to the employer for U.S. federal income tax to be withheld from this compensation. There is no need for the H-2A agricultural worker to submit a Form W-4 if there is no agreement to withhold U.S. federal income tax from the compensation. If the employer withholds income tax, the employer will report the tax withheld in box 2 (Federal income tax withheld) on Form W-2 and on line 8(Federal income tax withheld) on Form 943. Please see Publication 51 (Circular A), Agricultural Employer's Tax Guide, for the withholding tables and deposit requirements. In the case of voluntary withholding of federal income tax on an H-2A agricultural worker, the employer is required to do one of the following:

An H-2A agricultural worker who chooses not to participate in voluntary withholding of U.S. federal income tax, but who nevertheless anticipates owing U.S. federal income tax, may be required to make estimated payments to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 1040-ES (if a resident alien), or on Form 1040-ES (NR) (if a nonresident alien). Please refer to the instructions for those forms for more information on the requirement to make estimated tax payments. An H-2A agricultural worker who is not required to make federal estimated tax payments may wish to make such payments anyway in order to avoid a large balance of tax due when filing a U.S. federal individual income tax return. 041b061a72


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