Dairy farm workers.
September 19, 2019

Farm Wages Up More Than Those in the City

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Farmers know that to compete for and keep workers, they are continually under pressure to offer raises to employees. Now, United States Department of Agriculture data confirms it.

The data, over the last five years, also shows that farm wages are growing faster than non-farm compensation.

Between 2014 and 2018, the average hourly real wage (inflation adjusted to 2018 dollars) for nonsupervisory hired farm workers rose from $12/hour to $13.25, an increase of 10.4%, USDA data shows.

Nonfarm wages are still notably higher, growing from $21.90 in 2014 to $22.97 in 2018, a 3.5% increase.

USDA economists note that the rate of growth in farm wages from 2014 to 2018 is the fastest it has been during the past two decades. USDA does not go into the reason for this surge in wages.

But anecdotal reports from farmers themselves point to a shortage of immigrant workers, competition from off-farm jobs and a reluctance if not outright refusal by native-born workers to work on farms.