Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released data from its annual farm wages report. USDA’s Farm Labor Survey is used to calculate the 2023 Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), which determines the minimum wages for H-2A workers in each state. California employers can expect to see the AEWR increase from $17.51 per hour to $18.65 per hour, a 5.61 percent bump over the 2022 AEWR. The hourly rate will place California at the top of the pay scale across all states.
The AEWR paid by Arizona and New Mexico H-2A employers will rise 5.61 percent, from $14.79 to 15.62 per hour. Colorado and Nevada H-2A workers will get a 4.88 percent raise, from $15.58 to $16.34 per hour.
The news comes as members of the U.S. Senate try to hammer out an agreement on companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) during the lame duck session. The House-passed FWMA would freeze the AEWR for one year, then cap future wage increase at 3.25%, along with other measures to secure the border and provide farmers with legal, reliable and year-round workers, while giving consumers much needed relief from food inflation.