Farm Labor

Farm Labor Resources:

Finding, training, and retaining agricultural labor is a challenge and is often the biggest investment a farm makes in its success.  This resource page offers connections to resources to learn more about farm labor requirements and management strategies. 

New Entry and collaborators in agriculture, academia, and extension recognize the challenges producers face in managing a farm operation and hiring and managing labor.  We came together as a region to explore key questions such as:  How can small farmers attract and retain good workers, minimize their administrative burdens,and create new opportunities while doing so? What if a company could help small farmers across an entire region of the country meet their staffing needs, while at the same time covering administrative tasks from payroll to handling workers' compensation claims? What if this company could also guarantee farm workers year-round stability, either by connecting them with off-season jobs or providing them access to unemployment insurance? Further, what if this company gave both farm workers and farm owners the opportunity to take on leadership roles, or even invest and earn dividends? What if it helped farm owners capture social values that made them more enticing to workers and consumers alike?

Our collaborators gathered feedback on these questions and potential solutions from both farm owners and farm workers through a series of focus groups held in NY, MA, VT, NH and CT as part of a 2019-2022 project supported by a USDA Northeast SARE Novel Approaches grant (LNE19-386R). A detailed report outlines the feasibility of collaborative solutions to labor challenges and proposes a path forward.  As part of this project, we also learned that producers struggle to understand their legal obligations as employers and that nativating farm employment law can be confusing. 

Collaborative Solutions to Farm Labor Challenges: What is Feasible?

As part of this SARE Novel Approaches project, Farm Commons also developed a series of Northeast fact sheets to clarify state employment laws.

State Employment Law Guides (Northeast):

Other Farm Management Resources:

Other Farm Labor Webinars:


Conservation Law Foundation Farming Employment Law Guidance:

Click here to for the Employment Law Guidance for Massachusetts Farmers booklet. 

Agriculture Employment Law and your farm Webinar, March 2018



US Dept. of Labor Cultivating Compliance:

Click here to for the full pamphlet, or watch the video summary!