• Last modified 556 days ago (Dec. 8, 2022)


Fewer hours, better pay for farm workers

Staff writer

Farm workers in Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota worked less and made more money than last year during October, according to the Department of Agriculture.

A farm labor report indicates there were 45,000 workers, unchanged from a year earlier.

Farm operators paid an average $18.22 per hour, up 6% from 2021.

Field workers received an average of $18.46, up $1.25 per hour. Livestock workers made $16.88, up 43 cents. The hourly wage for field and livestock workers was $17.88, up 97 cents.

Laborers worked an average of 45.9 hours a week compared with 48.8 hours in 2021.

Statistics by state and county were not available.

Rickey Roberts, county extension agent, said supply and demand are hitting agriculture just as they do with other industries.

“In my opinion, whether that’s because of the pandemic or what, I will tell you that labor is hard to find,” he said. “When you do find someone, labor costs are higher. That’s not unique to agriculture.”

Roberts said he thought the numbers released by National Agricultural Statistics Service spoke more to big farming operations than to smaller family farms such as those in Marion County.

The agency also looked at a reference week in July, when there were 38,000 farm workers, down 7%, in the region. In July, the average wage was $17.69, up 4% from the reference week in 2021. Those workers clocked an average of 44.4 hours compared with 47.1 hours during the same week in 2021.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2022