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1 in 4 Farmers Say New York’s 60-Hour Overtime Threshold Has Made Farming More Difficult

Albany, NY – Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) released a new report on October 19, 2022, How New York Farmers Adapted to New Farm Labor Overtime Requirements.

According to the report, and contrary to Governor Hochul’s claims, nearly all family farms surveyed responded that the new overtime threshold has not made farmworker recruitment or retention easier. The current 60-hour overtime threshold has made farming more difficult for one in four farmers surveyed by Cornell researchers.

Cornell’s findings include:

  • Among fruit and vegetable crop employers surveyed, none indicated that overtime made recruiting easier, and 38% said it made recruiting harder.
  • Additionally, no fruit or vegetable crop employers said that overtime at 60 hours made retention easier.
  • Among dairy employers, just 3% said overtime made recruiting easier. Many dairy employers wrote in comments that overtime had not affected recruiting because they have little turnover and little need to recruit. Many also indicated that employees demand to work more hours.

Statement from the Grow NY Farms Coalition: “This latest report from Cornell shows without a doubt that lowering the overtime farm labor threshold to 40 hours will make farming harder in New York. In fact, a lower overtime threshold will put our food security at risk, reduce farmworkers’ earnings, and force farms to make tough decisions about the future of their family-owned businesses. The already negotiated 60-hour threshold is workable for both farmers and farmworkers. Governor Hochul must protect family farms across New York State and immediately suspend Commissioner Reardon’s decision to accept a lower overtime threshold.”

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