CHENANGO COUNTY – As talks of another bump in minimum wage swirls among state legislators, the farming community is speaking out, arguing that another minimum wage increase would cause more harm than help in the agriculture industry.
Last week, the New York Farm Bureau took a stance against the proposal to raise the statewide minimum wage from the current $8.75 to $10.50 (and $11.50 in New York City). On the opposite side, advocates of the proposal insist the extra pay would help low-wage workers out of poverty while dumping more money into the economy.
But according to NYFB, that theory overlooks the tight operational budgets of farms already at a competitive disadvantage with states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Idaho that pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
What’s more, many farmers already pay above current rate, the organization says, citing data from the USDA that shows an average agriculture wage rate of $12.15. And the H-2A program requires that temporary workers be paid $11.26.