Wages and benefits for farm employees are not only important to the employees, but to the employers as they try to provide fair compensation.
With little data available addressing issues of average compensation amounts, value of benefits provided and hours worked per week, a survey was conducted to collect and share baseline data for farm employers and employees.
Distribution. The Wages and Benefits For Farm Employees survey was conducted by Ohio State to gather data on farm employee wages and benefits in Ohio. Surveys were returned and summarized for 122 farm employees in early 2007.
Data was collected for each employee on: education, years of experience, type of general farm duties, days per week worked, hours per week worked, time off (holidays, vacation, sick leave and personal days), wages paid in cash, fringe benefits (vehicle, farm produce or commodities, meals, clothing, insurance, housing, continuing education, recreation, vacation, retirement plan, use of machinery and equipment) and bonuses.
Data was collected on farm size by gross sales and type of farm.
Wages. According to the results, the average value of cash wages paid to full-time farm employees is $28,392 per year (See Table 1).
The average value of benefits is $4,268 per year and the average value of bonuses is $793 per year.
Adding these three figures together amounts to a total compensation of $33,453 per year for full-time farm employees. Full-time farm employees average 12.3 years of experience and 8.4 years of tenure at their present workplace.
Full-time workers average 2,463 hours worked per year. This data enables us to calculate the average wage per hour and total compensation per hour.
Hourly compensation. The average wage for full-time farm employees, according to this study, is $11.53 per hour and the total compensation for full-time farm employees is $13.58 per hour.
Part-time employees average $9.01 per hour of cash wages. Their benefits average $1,110 per year and their bonuses average $194 per year. Part-time employees average 7.9 years of experience and 5.3 years of tenure at their present workplace.
As shown in Table 2, the majority of full-time employees (77.22 percent) earn between $20,001 and $40,000 per year.
Full-time employees earning between $25,001 and $30,000 per year in wages comprised 27.85 percent of our surveyed population and was the largest subset in the distribution.
The second-largest subset of full-time farm employees fell in the $20,001 to $25,000 per year range.
More to come. Further articles and papers will be available through the Ohio Ag Manager Newsletter, http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu; Ohioline, http://ohioline.osu.edu; and the OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics Farm Management, www-agecon.ag.ohio-state.edu.
(Tuscarawas County ag educator Chris Zoller also contributed to this article.)