Survey On Wisconsin Farm Wages And Benefits

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show

The University of Wisconsin Extension recently conducted a survey of Wisconsin farm wages and benefits. Larry Meiller finds out how the survey was done, what the findings were, and how we can make use of the findings.

Featured in this Show

  • Survey Gives Snapshot Of Wisconsin Farm Worker Wages, Benefits

    Wisconsin’s agricultural industry is a large part of the state’s history, culture and economy. With that in mind, the University of Wisconsin Extension recently carried out an extensive survey of agricultural employers and workers to get a much more clear and detailed picture of those enterprises.

    Trisha Wagner, an associate professor with UW Extension and the agriculture agent for Jackson County, was a key member of that undertaking. Wagner explained why this survey was a priority for UW Extension.

    “The educational background, skills background, wages and compensation that are paid to employees all vary widely, and both employers and farm workers want to be informed about these things,” she said. “So, to assist them, the UW Extension and the Center for Dairy Profitability here at UW-Madison worked on this survey of farm employers and employees across the state of Wisconsin.”

    More than 76,400 people work on farms in Wisconsin. To conduct the survey, they submitted it to about 420 farms in 38 counties around the state. There was also an online option for farmers to take the survey. The data was collected from January to mid-April of 2013.

    Wagner said that there were three main areas about which they hoped to gather information. One was characteristics of employees, “their education level, how employees are recruited, what are some of the most important characteristics of a farm employee to the employer.”

    Information on wages and other forms of compensation being paid was also a top priority. The third element, Wagner said, was determining “the biggest human resources challenges for Wisconsin farms.”

    Wagner said that the hope is that through this survey, “to understand the concerns and problems that farmers are having out there in respect to human resource management and to … bring those to the university and hopefully address (them) through education and information resources that can be developed here.”

    The full report is available online.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Trisha Wagner Guest