Foothill Farming
University of California
Foothill Farming

Posts Tagged: labor

Everything You Want to Know About Labor but Are Afraid to Ask

Do you have questions about hiring farm employees? Are you considering making the jump from farmer to owner-operator? We have compiled a few key questions you might want to ask yourself if you answered “yes” to either of those two questions. 

Have you completed a cash flow analysis?

Cash flow is not profitability, it is the statement of incoming dollars and outgoing dollars at different times of the year, which results in a cash flow statement. Analyzing your cash flow will help determine if you are able to pay your employees throughout the year, seasonally, or if a budget needs to be made to ensure cash is available when needed.

Have you calculated the full cost of employees you want to hire?

The minimum hourly wage has increased but that still doesn't account for the myriad of costs attached to hiring an employee. Fulfilling legal requirements for worker's comp, insurance, and other costs can derail your budget; causing not only financial hardship for the farm but also your employees. It is always a good idea to consult with employment experts to find out what exactly it will cost to hire your prospective employee.

Do you understand the legal requirements for becoming an employer?

First, you will need an employer identification number for tax and legal purposes. Laws and requirements are constantly changing so consulting an expert is recommended.

Are you prepared, or have you identified a person who is responsible, for handling payroll, taxes, workers comp and other related paperwork and payments?

Handling payroll and other employee needs should be the responsibility of a single person in your operation. While employees can report their hours and submit forms, a trained individual needs to be responsible for making clerical decisions and correcting common mistakes to avoid headaches later on. If the owner is not able to perform these duties, someone else must. However, that person does not need to be an expert in all of these areas as long as they have qualified advisers in place to help them with tax, insurance, and regulatory decisions.

Get your labor questions answered by Bryan Little, from the Farm Employers Labor Service, who will be our guest speaker at the Farmer-to-Farmer breakfast on March 14th, 2019 at Happy Apple Kitchen. Sign-up now at . Put it on your calendar today!


If you use the labor readiness self-assessment tool listed below, part of your results will include a capture graph like this and a detailed interpretation of each labor-related area and how you can improve.

Additional labor related resources:

  • Labor Readiness Self-Assessment Tool - University of Vermont

Answer a list of 21 questions and a personalized report will be generated letting you know what areas to work on.

  • FELS –Farm Employers Labor Service - a division of the California Farm Bureau Federation

“FELS strengthens the working relationship between farmers and field workers and helps farmers comply with labor and employment laws”

  • FELS Personnel & Labor Audit Checklist

Use this checklist to ensure you are up to date with requirements regarding overtime, minimum-wage, posters, etc.

  • Understanding Cash Flow Analysis - Iowa State University

This page has links to cash flow budget sheets, cash flow decision maker tools, etc.

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 10:43 AM
Tags: farm labor. (1), FELS (1), foothill farming (14), hiring (1), labor (2), legal requirements (1), Small farms (17)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development

Did You Miss the Farmer-to-Farmer Breakfast?


Domenic Fino talks with a room of farmers about crop insurance options at the January 9th Farmer-to-Farmer Breakfast in Auburn.

A room full of farmers came out on a rainy Wednesday morning to enjoy breakfast together. Our guest speaker, Domenic Fino of Golden Pacific Crop Insurance Services, came all the way from Dinuba, California. He is a farmer, with a family legacy of farming and has been in the crop insurance business for 17 years.

Revenue - While farm acreage and the number of zeros after the dollar sign may be smaller for local farms, revenue earned is revenue that can be lost and can be insured. Fino explained a type of insurance called Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) that was designed specifically for small to medium producers with diversified operations and unique specialty crops. WFRP has been around for the last five years but has only been available in Placer and Nevada Counties in the last two years. WFRP is currently available in all counties in all 50 states.

Records - Fino brought a wealth of experience and information to local producers. He helped explain that WFRP works only if the producer is able to keep proper records and has been reporting revenue on their taxes. “Garbage in, garbage out” Fino said, speaking of how important diligence in record-keeping and setting up the policy makes processing easier when there are claims.

Reporting - Whereas most types of insurance require claims to be made right after a loss, WFRP is unique in that a producer may only complete a claim after filing taxes for the year.

Restrictions – At the farmer-to-farmer breakfast, producers also learned of a few crops that are excluded from WFRP, mushrooms and timber. However, there is a program that can provide assistance for those products called Non-Insured Assistance Program (NAP) which is accessed through the Farm Service Agency. Several mandarin growers learned that while you must have at least two crops for WFRP with the second making at least 17% of your revenue, if you only sell mandarins, there is another option.

Single Crop Insurance - Mandarin only crop insurance is already available in six Southern California counties. Any mandarin farmer may request that type of crop insurance in their county. Once enough farmers request a single crop insurance in a county, it can create a bank of information that will eventually make that type of insurance written specifically for that county.

For more information about WFRP, visit the USDA Risk Management Agency website. 

Did you miss this event? If you are interested in learning more about crop or whole farm revenue protection insurance, UCCE can provide information. Call 530.889.7385 or e-mail us, or

Interested in attending a farmer-to-farmer breakfast? There is another one right around the corner. Wednesday, February 13, at Happy Apple Kitchen in Chicago Park. Look for a sign-up link coming soon.

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019 at 8:31 AM
  • Author: Hannah Meyer
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development

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