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Labor Alert
June 12, 2017
Farm Worker Wages Continue to Rise
Hourly wage could exceed $14 per hour for legal worker program.
For the first half of 2017, wages in Oregon and Washington rose 5.7 percent, according to the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Survey. The NASS survey is used to set the minimum wage for farmers who use the H-2A legal worker program.

The minimum wage for farmers who use H-2A is called the “Adverse Effect Wage Rate,” or AEWR for short. It is the combined weighted average wage of livestock and field workers, as determined by the federal survey. Here is a link to the latest NASS Farm Labor Survey. The survey divides the nation into regions. Oregon and Washington comprise the Pacific Region. In 2017, the AEWR for the Pacific Region rose 5.4 percent, from $12.69 per hour to $13.38 per hour. Therefore, farmers who use the legal worker program must guarantee this minimum wage.

For the first half of FY 2017, October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017, wages rose 5.7 percent. A chart below compares the survey wage rates in 2017 with the corresponding quarterly rate from 2016. Wages for the third and fourth quarter of the fiscal year, April 1 – September 30, are typically much higher, because they include piece rate harvest work, which tends to include higher wages. Wages for the third and fourth quarter of FY 2016 are also listed in the chart.

USDA will report wages for the second half of the year in December. The agency will then combine the first half and second half data points to calculate the 2018 Adverse Effect Wage Rate. If the 5.7 percent wage increase holds, the 2018 AEWR for Washington and Oregon will be $14.14 per hour.

Of course, utilizing the H-2A program provides growers a legal and stable workforce which is a great return on investment.

Pacific Region Summary from Farm Labor Report issued May, 2017


Jan 16

p. 17

Jan 17

p. 9

Apr 16


Apr 17

p. 7

Jul 16

p. 13

Oct 16

p. 11






















Source: USDA NASS Farm Labor Report, May, 2017.


This information is produced by wafla for informational purposes only. The items contained herein are provided for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Wafla does not provide legal advice or counsel; and readers should make their own inquiries before making any decision based on this or any other information received from wafla. If you have questions regarding this alert, please contact the editor, Kim Bresler.

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