Labor Research: What’s Happening on Your Farm?

An important research project is gearing up in the next few weeks to understand what is happening with New York farm labor during this time of great change in markets, regulations and technology. It’s an opportunity for the voices of actual farm employers and employees to be heard through research! Strong participation from farm employers and employees is important!

Farm employers who operate fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse/nursery operations should watch their U.S. mail for a pre-notification letter in the coming weeks, followed a few days later by a survey packet. This survey packet will contain an employer survey plus six copies of an employee survey (3 in English, 3 in Spanish). We are asking farm employers to complete the employer survey to give us hard numbers about your farm’s labor situation and the changes from 2019 to today. Employers will distribute the employee surveys to members of their team to complete and share current employee perspectives about the farm and employee management. All surveys will remain anonymous and only group data with no identifying information will ever be reported.

The dairy part of this research will start a few weeks after the fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse portion.

Objectives of this research are to:

  1. Identify what human resource management practices are most effective at achieving high performance and labor efficiency.
  2. Describe New York farm employee hours, compensation, quality of work life and satisfaction with working conditions and relations.
  3. Describe how labor markets and regulations are affecting labor usage, enterprise selection, and business plans for New York farms.
  4. Identify what labor-saving technologies farms are adopting and how they best fit in an overall human resource management strategy.

How to participate:

Watch your mail for the letter and survey packet, then follow the enclosed instructions to participate by mail, or use the online survey option. If you don’t get a mailing in the next few weeks, and you a operate a New York farm with hired employees, then reach out to Julie Berry ( to request a survey packet. Include your name, farm name, mailing address, phone, and email.

Project leadership:

This project, “New York Farm Labor in Transition,” is led by Richard Stup ( of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), in collaboration with colleagues from the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR).

Support for this research is provided by:

  • Unites States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
  • New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • Farm Credit East
  • Northeast Dairy Producers Association
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Upstate Niagara Cooperative

Thank you for taking time to participate in this research!

This post appeared first in The Ag Workforce Journal.

Richard Stup

Richard Stup addresses challenges facing the agricultural industry through educational programs and applied research. He also provides leadership as a liaison between the agricultural industry and employment-focused regulatory authorities. His focus is on human resource management, enhancing employee engagement, regulatory compliance, and leadership development at the farm level.