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The 2021 AEWR Finally Revealed

With the release of USDA’s Farm Labor Survey on February 11, farmers that utilize the H-2A program finally know the minimum wage they must pay their H-2A workers in 2021. Usually, this wage rate, known as the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, is known when the Farm Labor Survey is released in November, but changes in policy that were proposed and then struck down in the courts over the last four months delayed the Farm Labor Survey’s release, which in turn held up the AEWR announcement. The FLS reveals an average increase of $0.63 per hour, or 4.5%, from 2020 to 2021, though there are considerable regional differences.

Why the Delay?

In fall 2020, the process of amending the wage methodology for the H-2A program began. First, in September, USDA issued a notice that it would no longer conduct the Farm Labor Survey, which is typically carried out in April and October and released in May and November, respectively. This change was important because the Department of Labor uses the data from the two surveys to calculate the annual national average gross wage rate for field and livestock workers, which becomes the AEWR. The annual national average gross wage rate for field and livestock workers is included in the November FLS report. Second, in November, DOL announced a final rule that would have updated the methodology for determining the annual AEWR in the H-2A visa program. Both actions were challenged in court by farmworker organizations.

The methodology changes never went into effect because on December 23, a federal court in California ruled against the implementation of DOL’s final rule to alter the methodology used to calculate the AEWR for the H-2A program. The judge’s decision required DOL to issue the 2021 AEWR by February 25.  In a separate court decision, a judge ordered USDA to reinstate the FLS. As a result of the court rulings, none of the changes to the wage methodology for the H-2A program will be implemented.

Now, Those Wages

According to the FLS, the annual national average gross wage rate for field and livestock workers was $14.62 in 2020, up $0.63, or 4.5%, from $13.99 in 2019. By comparison, according to the BLS’ Employment Cost Index, nationally, compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.6% for the 12-month period ending in December 2020.

While this is interesting, what really matters for the H-2A program are the regional annual average gross wage rate for field and livestock workers, which serve as the basis for the AEWR. As we have reported multiple times throughout the years, the rate of change from region-to-region varied considerably in 2020. The state of California, which is its own region, had the largest increase – jumping $1.28/hour, or 8.7%, above 2019. Meanwhile, wages in the Delta region (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi) had the smallest increase – 5 cents/hour, or 0.4%, above 2019. All but three (Delta, Southeast and Lake) of the 18 regions in the FLS exceeded the ECI’s 2.6% increase. Hourly AEWR wages now exceed $12/hour in all regions except the Delta and Southeast.

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The Long View

While a 4.5% single-year increase is sizable, the 2021 AEWR jump comes on the heels of several years of considerable wage rate increases. Over the last five years, the national average AEWR has increased by 20%. Again, however, regional wages are what really count. From this perspective, depending on the region, wages have increased between 9% and 35% over the last five years.

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Veronica Nigh
(202) 406-3622

Allison Crittenden
Director, Congressional Relations
(202) 406-3634

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

Prepared according to

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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