Farmworkers weeding sugar beets near Fort Collins CO

Farm Labor

Cornell Agricultural Business Management & Labor

View a collection of helpful resources from Cornell. 

Labor Regulations

Farmers hiring employees have to comply with NYS Department of Labor regulations and US Federal Labor law regulations. February 22, 2023 New Farm Laborers Wage and overtime rules are published:

"The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) today announced that it officially adopted the final farm labor overtime regulations, codifying Commissioner Reardon’s order that adopted the Farm Laborers Wage Board’s report and recommendations in September. The phased-in, gradual reduction in the overtime pay threshold will begin on January 1, 2024, with the threshold set at 56 hours. The process will continue with the overtime threshold limit reducing by 4 hours every other year until reaching 40 hours in 2032."

Effective January 1, 2024:

  • Wages and Overtime: All farm workers, including Foreign Visa workers, must now be paid one and a half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked over 56 in a calendar week. For more information, please contact the NYS Department of Labor at 833-NY-FARMS (833-693-2767) or learn more about Wage order.

The NYS Department of Labor provides comprehensive information about hiring farm workers in NYS.

Services for Farm Agricultural Employers from the NY Department of Labor

Find information and services at:


Farmers employing people outside of the immediate family need to comply with labor rules and regulations which include displaying posters in a language understood by the employee. These posters are free. To access NYS Labor posters click here.

To access U. S. Department of Labor posters click here.

Terms of Employment and Record Keeping

Proper labor records are critical to provide necessary documentation for federal and state labor laws compliance. For record keeping requirements and examples of terms of employment, sample work agreements, daily record of crew reports, picker and delivery sheets click here.

Worker Protective Standards and Worker Safety

The Worker Protection Standard is a federal regulation designed to protect employees on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses from occupational exposures to agricultural pesticides.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided and maintained for handlers and early-entry workers.

Pesticide handlers and agricultural workers are covered under the law.

Employers are responsible for providing Worker Protective Safety (WPS) Training for employees on the basic concepts of pesticide safety.

Warning signs must be posted to warn agricultural workers in advance about pesticide applications.

See also the resources from Cornell at

Farm Family & Worker Safety

The NY Center for Agriculture Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) enhances agricultural and rural health by raising awareness to prevent occupational injury and illness. Outreach and education activities include on-farm safety trainings and surveys and farm emergency response training in the areas of first aid and CPR.

Workers should wear protective equipment to prevent hearing loss. How Do I Know If Farm Noise Is Too Loud? provides understanding of farm equipment, noise level and hours of exposure before hearing is damaged.

Human Resource Management

Human Resource Managementis critical to the success of a farm business. Standard operating procedures build consistency into farm operations. Good communication skills and conflict resolution are necessary labor management skills.

The Cornell Fruit Program has extensive resources on Labor Management and Worker Training.

Last updated February 8, 2024