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Rising H-2A wages challenge US agriculture sector in 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's farm labor survey has brought to light an upcoming challenge for the U.S. agriculture sector: a significant increase in H-2A labor wages in 2024. This wage hike will be felt by farmers and ranchers nationwide, with varying degrees of impact depending on the region. 

The survey results show that in 2024, wage rates for H-2A laborers will see an increase in all states. Farmers in 13 states are expected to pay over $1 more per hour for H-2A labor, while those in 31 states will see an increase ranging from 50 cents to $1 per hour. A smaller increase of less than 50 cents is anticipated in only six states. 

These wage rates, determined by the USDA's survey, are used by the Department of Labor to set the Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the H-2A temporary visa program. These rates are pivotal in assessing the economic feasibility of agricultural businesses. 

Regionally, the Corn Belt witnessed the smallest wage increase, with just a 1.4 percent rise. Hawaii, on the other hand, recorded the highest percentage increase, with farmers there expected to pay $1.49 more per hour in 2024 compared to this year. 

This upcoming increase in labor costs is a significant development for the agriculture industry, as it directly affects the cost of farming operations. With higher labor costs on the horizon, farmers and ranchers must strategize to manage these additional expenses while maintaining the profitability and sustainability of their agricultural enterprises. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection

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