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Farm workforce numbers down in 2020

Farm workforce numbers down in 2020

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A total 39,000 hired workers were on farms and ranches in the Northern Plains during the week of Oct. 11-17, 2020. That’s down 9% from the same week in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

A survey in July showed less of a decline. With 36,000 workers on the job July 12-18, the number was down 3% from the year before.

July wages were up 7% during that time with farm operators paying their workers an average $16.68 per hour in July.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $16.83 per hour during the October 2020 reference week, up 6% from 2019. Field workers received an average of $17.04 per hour, up 63 cents. Livestock workers earned $15.52 per hour, up $1.76. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $16.45, was up $1.05 from the October 2019 reference week.

Hired laborers worked an average of 46 hours in October, compared with 43.4 hours the same week in 2019.

The Northern Plains Region includes Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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