February 15, 2021

USDA issues preview of H-2A wage rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a preview Feb. 11 of what the 2021 H-2A wage rates will look like. USDA released its Farm Labor Survey (FLS), which the Department of Labor (DOL) will use to generate the 2021 Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWRs).

The DOL’s rule to transition away from the FLS and to freeze the AEWR for two years was enjoined by a court in the recent litigation brought by UFW against the DOL. Pursuant to the court’s order, the DOL will publish the new AEWRs in the Federal Register in the next two weeks and go into effect immediately thereafter.

According to the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform (ACIR) and Shawn Packer with JPH Law Firm (formerly CJ Lake), the new rates will be as follows for states served by Western Growers:

  • California’s AEWR will increase by $1.28, to $16.05 per hour;
  • Arizona’s and New Mexico’s AEWR will increase by $0.76, to $13.67 per hour; and
  • Colorado’s AEWR will increase by $0.56, to $14.82 per hour.

While not final, these numbers are expected to become the actual AEWRs when DOL publishes the new rates in the coming weeks.

— Western Growers


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