Payroll Costs for California Farmers Increased 244 Percent in 20 Years

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Labor and Immigration

Payroll Costs

Total payroll costs for California farmers have increased dramatically in 20 years. Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley, Ali Hill used data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture to look at payroll cost trends between 2002 and 2022. She said that payroll costs in California have increased 244 percent.

“So, almost 2.5 times in 2022 than what they were in 2002. That’s a larger increase than any other state,” Hill noted. “Things are getting more expensive, and California minimum wages have also gone up more than any other state.”

The figures are not adjusted for inflation, which Hill says better highlights another economic issue. Increases in the cost of labor appear to be outpacing any increases in the sale value of agricultural products. “In California, that increase in payroll costs exceeded the increase in total farm sales by a sizable chunk. That’s the case in some other states, but not all,” Hill explained.

Listen to the report below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West