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Abstract

A potentially smaller supply of immigrant farmworkers due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 would not equally affect the Nation's 813,400 U.S. farm employers. Farms with annual sales of $500,000 or more, farms specializing in vegetables, fruit and tree nuts, and horticultural specialty crops, and farms in the Pacific and Southeast regions may be most affected. Beef, hog, and sheep operations, with the lowest average labor expenses, may be least affected. About 27,000 farms with annual sales of $500,000 or more reported over 46 percent of U.S. farm labor costs. Vegetable farms, fruit and tree nut farms, nurseries, and greenhouses had the highest average labor expenses per operation in this sales class and cash grain farms had the lowest. Farms in the Pacific, Southeast, and Northeast combined accounted for about half of all farm labor expenses.

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