The honest answer is that some farms are not legally required to pay at least the minimum wage. However, most farms offer well above the minimum wage in order to attract a qualified workforce. Still, it’s helpful to know what the rules are– especially for farms that are crafting unique internship and apprenticeship opportunities where the obligation to provide the minimum wage influences how those farms can offer wages in the form of food and housing.
Does your farm need to pay at least the minimum wage? It depends! The minimum wage rate is different depending on which state your business is located in. It also varies depending on the type of labor being performed. Check out the Selected Essentials in Farm Employment Law (10pgs) resources to find out what the minimum wage is in your state, and when you have to pay it on your farm or ranch.
If your farm is analyzing minimum wage issues for an internship program, make sure to check the Farmers’ Legal Guide to Intern and Volunteer Programs (90pgs) for a clear explanation of when and how interns, apprentices, and even volunteers must be paid at least the minimum wage (along with other farm employment laws).
Our Farmers’ Guide to In-Kind Wages (77pgs) explains how the minimum wage rules affect the farm’s ability to provide housing, meals, and more as wages.
New to farm employment law, not yet a member, or looking for an overview of issues? Try our Hiring Farm Workers Basics, a 6-page FAQ-style resource that answers farmers’ most typical questions about hiring workers for the farm (available to members and non-members alike). This resource will help you discover what you didn’t realize you didn’t know. It will also direct you to more detailed resources on the issues relevant to your farm.
Looking for more support and practical resources as you create a workforce wage strategy that works for your farm? Take our Advanced Employment Law Course, an online, comprehensive experience that helps farmers understand and apply farm employment law to their specific situations.