October Agricultural Labor Survey

Released: September 2012
For more information contact: Jodie Sprague or Eric Sommer at 1-800-835-2612.


The Montana Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will be collecting data for the Quarterly Agricultural Labor Survey beginning October 17 through October 31. 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, October 7 through October 13. 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. Approximately 160 operations in Montana will be included in this important survey, so every response is critical.

All information supplied during the interview is kept confidential by law. On Novemeber 23, Regional and National farm labor estimates will be released to the public.