; The Farm Labor Situation in Wisconsin | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name The Farm Labor Situation in Wisconsin

Trisha Wagner


The current farm labor market is extremely competitive with many farm employers having di?culties ?lling all of their positions. Over the years, farms have consolidated and increased their reliance on and demand for hired labor. At the same time the rural workforce has declined in most counties. Although the presence of immigrant labor did o?er respite to farm employers over the last 15 years, this pool of labor is now fully employed. Additionally, low commodity prices for milk have increased the challenges for farm employer to compete in the labor market. Questions arise as to whether or not Wisconsin dairy farms can offer employees a living wage.
These factors have forced employers to compete more actively for labor and to become more creative in terms of recruitment and retention strategies.
To better understand farm human resource management in Wisconsin, in 2018, the University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension and the Center for Dairy Profitability conducted a statewide survey of farm businesses. In particular, the survey focused on employee wages, turnover rates, and the current sources of farm labor.
Participants in this session will learn more about employee wages for di?erent areas of the state and how it compares to “living wage”, di?erent employment types, compensation bene?ts, and the number of new hires and their previous employment status. The results presented are based on 224 responses received from dairy farms speci?cally, covering 2,899 employees.

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