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Data Sources

National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)

The National Agricultural Statistics Service published regional and national data for the number of all hired workers, average hours worked by hired workers, and all hired worker wage rates at the regional and U.S. levels from 1930’s through first quarter of 2011. The wage rates for field, livestock, and combined field and livestock workers are also available at the regional and U.S. level. The number of agricultural service workers and the corresponding wage rates are published for California and Florida. Copies are available online at the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University.

Economic Research Service

USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) provides basic information on the patterns of farm labor use and the demographic and employment characteristics of hired farm workers helps inform the policymakers about the effects of changing legislation. ERS research contributes to the understanding of the supply and demand for agricultural labor, the socioeconomic characteristics of the agricultural work force, and the implications of changing U.S. policies and programs for farm employment and wages.

Current Population Survey, Bureau of the Census

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS is the primary source of information on the labor force characteristics of the U.S. population. Estimates obtained from the CPS include employment, unemployment, earnings, hours of work, and other indicators. They are available by a variety of demographic characteristics including age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment. They are also available by occupation, industry, and class of worker. Supplemental questions to produce estimates on a variety of topics including school enrollment, income, previous work experience, health, employee benefits, and work schedules are also often added to the regular CPS questionnaire.

Adverse Effects Wage Rates

Adverse effects wage rates are the minimum wage rates which the Department of Labor has determined must be offered and paid to U.S. and foreign workers by employers of nonimmigrant foreign agricultural workers (H2-A visa holders). Such employers must pay the higher of the AEWR, the applicable prevailing wage, or the statutory minimum wage as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Adverse effects wage rate data (XLSX, 23.8 KB).

H-2 Workers and Requests and Visas

The Department of Labor maintains a listing of the number of H-2A worker requested by employers and certified by the Department. The most detailed data on H-2A workers admitted into the U.S. is published by the Department's Foreign Labor Certification Data Center. Data on the actual number of non-immigrants admitted as temporary workers, exchange visitors, and intra-company transferees by region and country of citizenship can also be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

USDA Census of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts a Census of Agriculture every 5 years. Results of the most recent 2007 Census of Agriculture were released February 4, 2009 and updated in December 2009. The Census of Agriculture is the leading source of facts and figures about American agriculture. Conducted every five years, the Census provides a detailed picture of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. It is the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the United States.
Aggregated data from past four Census of Agriculture surveys.

National Agricultural Workers Survey

The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) is an employment-based, random survey of the demographic, employment, legal status and health characteristics of the U.S. crop labor force. NAWS does not survey paid livestock workers. The information is obtained directly from farm workers through face-to-face interviews. The survey has been conducted since 1989. To date, over 60,000 workers have been interviewed. The survey samples crop workers in three cycles each year to reflect the seasonality of agricultural production and employment. Workers are located at their farm job sites. During the initial contact, arrangements are made to interview the respondent at home or at another location convenient to the respondent.