Although there has been a long history of farms and ranches providing volunteer opportunities for people to learn the skills of the trade, labor law is specific about the requirements for having any help on your farm. On the east coast, farmers are starting to be targeted by lawsuits from unpaid or underpaid interns and labor departments across the country are starting to pay more attention to our field. We strongly encourage you to review the information below and learn more about your rights and responsibilities. Although the listing information asks you to state whether or not you are offering payment to your interns, we strongly encourage everyone to offer fair and legal payment to interns. For more on an array of legal issues, visit http://farmcommons.org/.
- Farm Commons’ Five Minute Guide to Workers and Employees
- Overview of Federal and Montana Employment Regulations (Word Doc)
- More Info on Volunteers and Interns on Farms (Word Doc)
- Federal Fact Sheet on Agricultural Labor (PDF)
- Federal Fact Sheet on Internships (PDF)
This guide contains over 250 words and phrases that will help English and Spanish speaking people who work with livestock to communicate more easily. This is a tool that farm and ranch workers, veterinarians, livestock producers, processing plant or feed company employees, and consultants will find useful.
Labor cost and uncertainty around availability and regulations applicable to farm employment are continually challenging for Asparagus producers. A host of issues specific to California will be discussed.
The way that a farm employee does his or her work affects a farmer’s profits. Many farmers have thought about rewarding their good employees, but not as many are actually doing it. Employees should be given as much control as possible over the enterprise which affects their performance rating.
Montana Legal Services Association’s Agricultural Worker Unit provides free civil legal services for eligible agricultural workers, including foreign workers under the federal H-2A program. This means they can provide information, advice, pro se assistance (helping clients help themselves), and full representation for eligible agricultural workers. Examples of what they can help with include employment issues, public benefits, housing issues, and other civil legal problems.
Offers low-income workers who’ve done seasonal farm, ranch or other agricultural work within the past two years funding for on-the-job training (i.e. wages), tuition, and other services. (FAQ)
For over forty years, Ag Worker Health and Services has provided low-cost, primary and preventive healthcare to those who work in agriculture. From dental cleanings to vaccines, Well Woman Exams to Behavioral Health Counseling, the clinic offers affordable options to the hardworking people that help bring food to the table. For more information about services offered and eligibility, call your nearest office in Billings, Lolo, Dillon, and Fairview.
Over the last several years, many small farms in California and Oregon have been fined for running apprenticeships and internships that violate federal and state minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and other labor laws. Several more established farms have begun to pilot the models illustrated in this guide. Although this guide has some info on regulations specific to California, there is a lot of other content that is valuable to producers across the country.