Nov 29, 2022Field worker wages up 6%, signaling hike for H-2A pay
Field workers at U.S. farms received an average of $17.04 per hour in October, an increase of 6% from the same month in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Labor Survey.
The annual average gross wage rate for field workers in 2022 is $16.77, up 6% from 2021’s annual average, according to the report.
The USDA report also updates wage statistics from July 2021-July 2022, which shows that field workers received $16.80 in July, a 4% increase from July 2021. Although livestock workers saw wages increase 7% and 10% in July and October 2022 from the respective year-ago periods, they still earned less on average than field workers:
- Field workers, October 2022 – $17.04 per hour, a 6% increase in a year;
- Livestock workers, October 2022 – $16.52 per hour, a 7% increase in a year;
- Field workers, July 2022 – $16.80 per hour, a 4% increase in a year; and
- Livestock workers, July 2022 – $16.65, a 10% increase in a year.
Combined gross wages for field and livestock workers in October 2022 was $16.90, an increase of 6% from the previous October, and combined gross wages for those works in July 2022 was $16.76, and 6% increase.
The USDA’s Farm Labor Survey findings on wages are used to set the Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR), which are the hourly rates mandated for H-2A employees across the U.S. The report is issued twice a year, with statistics from July/October and January/April for a report in the spring.
Farms and ranches had directly hired 785,000 workers the week of Oct. 9-15, a 2% increase from the same period in 2021. In July, the 797,000 field/orchard and ranch workers was about the same from the same week in July 2021.
According to the survey, field workers and their duties include:
- Planting, tending and harvesting crops;
- Farm machinery operators;
- Packinghouse graders-sorters;
- Crop, nursery and greenhouse workers; and
- Packagers and packers.