April 7, 2023
DOL Changes AEWRs and PWRs
DOL revised its Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) methodology in regulations issued February 28, 2023. Instead of one AEWR per state based on USDA’s Farm Labor Survey (FLS) of farm employers who hire workers directly, there will be five to 10 AEWRs in each state based on the wage associated with a particular job title determined by DOL but drawn from the employer’s description of the job to be performed.
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Biden and Immigration at 2
President Joe Biden took office in January 2021 and quickly reversed many Trump Administration migration policies, including Trump’s wall on the Mexico-US border, stepped up efforts to detect and deport unauthorized foreigners inside the US, and restrictions on the influx of asylum seekers and refugees. Biden supported proposals in Congress to legalize the 10 million to 11 million unauthorized foreigners in the US.
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Unions: 10% of US Workers, 1% of Farm Workers
The share of US workers who were union members fell to 10 percent in 2022, down from 20 percent in 1983. The wage and salary workforce rose by 50 percent between 1983 and 2022 while the number of union members fell by 20 percent.
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California Water: 2022-23 Records and SGMA
California received more precipitation than normal in 2022-2023. There were record levels of levels of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains; the snow melts in summer and provides water for people and crops.
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California Farm Sales: $51 billion in 2021
California had farm sales of $51 billion in 2021, up from $49 billion in 2020 and 1.5x the farm sales of Iowa. California accounted for 12 percent of US farm sales of $434 billion in 2021, including $238 billion from the sale of crops and $195 billion from the sale of animal commodities.
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January 26, 2023
US Farms in 2021
The US has two million farms that generated over $400 billion in sales in 2021, an average of about $200,000. However, averages in agriculture are misleading because over half of US farms had sales of less than $8,000, while the 70,000 farms that each had sales of $1 million or more accounted for 70 percent of US farm production.
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New Zealand Agriculture and Labor
New Zealand is a net exporter of farm commodities, sending crop and livestock commodities abroad worth $25 billion in 2020 and importing farm commodities worth $5 billion. NZ farm exports include processed food such as milk powder.
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President Biden visited El Paso in January 2023 en route to Mexico City, highlighting continued unauthorized migration over the Mexico-US border. Border Patrol agents encountered over 2,000 unauthorized migrants a day in the El Paso area in December 2022.
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Human history is the story of productivity improvements in agriculture that allow fewer farmers to feed more people, setting the stage for the emergence of cities and ruling elites. In modern times, labor-saving mechanization in agriculture is a response to economic and risk factors. Farmers mechanize when the cost of hand labor exceeds the cost of machine services, and when there is a risk that farm workers may not be available. Rising nonfarm wages draw workers out of agriculture, while biological and engineering innovations make it possible to replace workers with machines.
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Australia Agriculture and Labor
Australia is a net food exporter, sending $30 billion worth of crops and livestock commodities a year abroad and importing farm commodities worth $15 billion. Australia exports 70 percent of its farm commodities by value, led by beef and wheat. The major destinations for Australian farm exports are China, Japan, other Asian countries, and Europe.
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