Farm wages in the Intermountain area of Utah, Colorado and Nevada rose 2 percent last year, compared to an increase of 4 percent nationally for the same time period, federal officials say.
Nationally, food costs have risen 1.8 percent in the past 12 months, pushed up by this summer’s drought in the Midwest, which scorched corn and soybean crops, the U.S. Labor Department.
In the Intermountain area, average wage rates for all hired workers came to $10.81 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Wages for field workers and livestock hands were less, averaging $10.12 and $9.83 per hour, respectively.
Intermountain farm operators hired 19,000 workers in October, a 6 percent increase from the same period last year. In July, operators hired 22,000 workers, representing a 16 percent increase from last, year, according to the December report prepared by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Nationally, farm wages averaged $11.36 per hour, up 4 percent from last year.
U.S. operators hired 906,000 workers in July, up nearly 9 percent from the same period last year. And in October there were 872,000 farm workers, up more than 5 percent from last year.
In addition, the number of hours worked in the Intermountain area averaged 40.3 hours per week, compared to 48.5 hours in Arizona and New Mexico and 40.4 hours nationally.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.