[Market-farming] Piece Work Picking

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at illinois.edu
Thu Jun 11 10:22:20 EDT 2009

One large vegetable farm I used to consult with had a migrant working force of over 250 people during harvest. They paid piece work, but it was above a base rate. The base rate was about $1/hour above minimum wage and the piece work kicked in when production exceeded a certain plateau. Its too long ago that I don't remember rates now, but they'd be irrelevant now anyway. The main thing is that wages can be structured to ensure everyone gets a fair wage but high productivity can be rewarded. It may not be for everyone, but I thought it was creative and a win-win. The workers must have liked it because they stuck with that farm, some for generations.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 09:18:24 -0400
>From: Andy Fellenz <fellenz at fltg.net>  
>Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Piece Work Picking  
>To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
>I'd look at how much you expect an average picker to pick in an hour and 
>set the rate based on their pick rate.  I think you need to ensure that 
>your piece rate will at least provide minimum wage.  For my berry 
>pickers, I've set the rate so that anyone who is halfway trying will get 
>$8-$10 and hour and people who are hustling can get >$15/hour. 
>Allan Balliett wrote:
>> <This is a resend of an erroneously titles post.>
>> anyone have a clue how to determine piece work rates on things like
>> peas and beans?
>> Having access to what the canning companies pay would be a start, I
>> guess. (They used to pay us 2cents a pound and people were making a
>> living off from that...but that's another story...)
>> This is picking for a CSA so I dont readily think of
>> dollar-value-of-the-crop when trying to determind what's fair to all
>> parties.
>> Your ideas and info appreciated.
>> Thanks
>> -Allan in WV
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William H Shoemaker, UI-NRES
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
St Charles Horticulture Research Center
535 Randall Road  St Charles, IL  60174
630-584-7254; FAX-584-4610

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