Ag Labor and Wages Pt 1

Ag Labor and Wages Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. As we begin a new year, agriculture will continue to face many challenges, including finding an ample labor supply and what those workers must be paid, both carry-over issues ag has been battling for years.

Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, says yes, among the many problems, these are two of the biggest …

POWERS … “I break it down into different buckets, but on the labor front, clearly, the prevailing wage and the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), it’s destructive at this point frankly.”

And, Powers says it didn’t really have to get this bad …

POWERS … “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act originally passed the House in 2019. So, if it had passed the Senate and if it had been signed by the President and everything, then the AEWR in 2022 would have been $16.02, which is 8.6%, or $1.39 less than the $17.41 that it’s projected to be now.”

But, Powers says it could have been more …

POWERS … “I look at it as a positive that you reduce it. It’s never going to be zero growth, right? It just won’t. I mean, there’s a whole different side to the negotiation that thinks it should be more than what it is under the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on our ag labor and wage challenges, and what it could mean for ag employers if things don’t change.

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