Agricultural Handbook No. (AH-719) 63 pp

July 2000

Summary of Federal Laws and Regulations Affecting Agricultural Employers, 2000

About 34 percent of U.S. farms in 1997 used hired labor, and 12 percent used contract labor. Hired labor costs averaged 12 percent of total farm production expenses in 1997, but amounted to as much as 44 percent of production expenses for horticultural specialty crop producers, 40 percent for fruit and tree nut producers, and 32 percent for vegetable and melon producers. Hired farmworkers have accounted for about 31 percent of the farm workforce in the 1990's. Hired labor's importance of to U.S. farm production requires agricultural employers to understand Federal laws and regulations governing employment, taxes, wages, and working conditions. This single-source publication summarizes these laws and regulations. This updated version of a 1992 report contains expanded sections on agricultural employers' Federal safety requirements, migrant and seasonal farmworker provisions, and tax requirements for agricultural employers, as well as new sections on employer responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

Keywords: agricultural labor, farm labor, farm labor policy, employer-employee relations

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