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Hike in H-2A labor costs for US farmers and ranchers in 2024
USAgNet - 11/27/2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent farm labor survey indicates a substantial rise in wages for H-2A laborers employed by farmers and ranchers in 2024. This increase will affect agriculture businesses across the country, with varying impacts depending on the region.

According to the survey, wage rates for H-2A employees are set to increase in all states and regions in 2024. Specifically, farmers in 13 states will face more than a $1 per hour increase in labor costs. In 31 states, the wage hike will be between 50 cents and $1 per hour. Only six states will see an increase of less than 50 cents.

The Department of Labor uses the USDA's Farm Labor Survey to establish the Adverse Effect Wage Rates for H-2A workers. These rates are crucial for determining the viability of farming businesses under the temporary visa program.

The survey highlighted regional disparities in the wage rate increases. The smallest increase was observed in the Corn Belt region, with a rise of only a quarter per hour, amounting to a 1.4 percent increase. In contrast, Hawaii witnessed the largest percentage increase, with farmers expected to pay $1.49 per hour more next year compared to this year.

This wage increase is significant for the agricultural sector, as it directly influences the cost of production. Farmers and ranchers must now prepare for these higher labor costs, which could impact their operations and overall profitability in the coming year.

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