Learn about updates and improvements for your farm operation

The Southeast Michigan Agricultural Labor and Farm Safety Program will help you stay up-to-date with current regulations for agricultural labor and update your farm safety plans.

In 2013, vegetable growers in southeast Michigan felt the lack of reliable labor was going to have a great impact on the profitability of their operations. I created a survey to capture the current and needed seasonal employee numbers during the 2013 growing season.

The survey was sent to 30 vegetable and fruit farms of different sizes that require seasonal labor. The 11 respondents had from two to 110 seasonal employees in 2013, and 72 percent of the operations indicated they were short in seasonal employees, needing from 10 to 60 additional seasonal personnel. The surveyed farmers estimated the lack of adequate seasonal employees was going to result in approximately 5 to 40 percent crop loss due to the “lack of hands” at harvest time.

Seasonal workers are very important for vegetable and fruit growers and the success and profitability of their operations. Growers have struggled to find reliable workers in past years. In addition, understanding agricultural labor issues and complying with farm labor laws has become increasingly more difficult due to changes in the laws.

Michigan State University Extension will be hosting the Southeast Michigan Agricultural Labor and Farm Safety Meeting on March 14, 2014, to assist agricultural employers in understanding issues impacting vegetable, fruit and other agricultural operations.

In the morning session there will be an update on labor regulations that impact farms, including the H2A program, updates from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, as well as resources from Telamon Corporation and the Southeastern Michigan Migrant Resource Council.

The afternoon will feature the Michigan Farm Bureau training series titled “Updating Farm Safety Plans: Promoting a Safety and Health Management System for Agriculture.”

This meeting will be held at the Lenawee County MSU Extension office,1040 S. Winter St., Adrian, MI. Early registration is $30 by Feb. 28 and after that day registration is $35. Registration includes lunch and meeting materials.

For more information about Ag Labor meeting or to register, please visit Ag Labor meeting registration webpage. Contact Lina Rodriguez Salamanca at 517-264-5300 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions.

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