April Agricultural Labor Survey
Released: April 4, 2011
For more information contact: Jodie Sprague or Steve Anderson at 1-800-835-2612.

The USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Montana Field Office will be collecting data for the Quarterly Agricultural Labor Survey beginning April 20 through May 4. Estimates of farm employment are used for a variety of purposes by State and Federal governments, educational institutions, farmer organizations, and private sector employers of agricultural labor. There are numerous examples of how farm employment estimates are used, but the following are just a few:

  • USDA uses farm worker data to analyze changes in farm policy and to formulate farm productivity indexes. The inclusion of wage rate data in the Parity Index (Index on Prices Paid by Farmers) is required by law.

  • Farm worker data are an important component of personal and national income for the agricultural sector of the Gross Domestic Product.

  • Federal regulations that determine the minimum wage rates for domestic and foreign agricultural workers in the U.S. also use the Agricultural Labor Survey data as a major input into the calculations.
Information will be collected based on the reference week running from Sunday, Apri110 through April 16. Questions asked will be in regards to the total number of unpaid, paid, and contract or custom workers; the total number of hours worked for each; and the total gross wages given to paid and contract or custom workers. Only 142 operations in Montana will be included in this important survey, so every response is critical.

Montana operations selected to participate in this April's Labor Survey will be notified by letter, and phone interviewers will contact them starting on April 20 to complete this survey. All information supplied during the interview is kept confidential by law. On May 19, Regional and National farm labor estimates will be released to the public. The results will be available on the internet at www.nass.usda.gov/mt/.