You are here

Farm Worker Wages

Farming is typically more than a one-person job and paying employees is a major cost of doing business. The National Agricultural Statistics Service says farm labor wages rose by 17% in inflation-adjusted term between the years 2014 and 2018. The increase went from about $11.30 per hour in 2014, to $13.25 per hour in 2018.

Steve Zahniser is an economist at the USDA. He says the reason for this is a rising demand for farm labor in the United States, and at the same time there’s been a tightening supply of that labor.

"On the demand side, the number of farm workers employed in the country increased from about 1,310,000 in 2014 to 1,350,000 in 2017. That increase is rooted in the strong demand for higher-valued fruit and vegetables that accompanies a healthy and growing economy," he says.

Crop production jobs, especially in greenhouse, nursery and floriculture, tend to pay a bit more than livestock production. But, he says wages paid may also depend on where you are in the country.

"The three regions that paid the highest wages in 2018 were one, the Pacific region, that is the states of Oregon and Washington at $15.03/hr. Second was the state of Hawaii at $14.73/hr, and then third, the northern plains states," he says. "That is North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas at $14.38/hr."