Recent reports and letters that advocate for keeping the overtime pay threshold at 60 hours rather than reducing it to 40 present valid issues facing farmers today. Farmers struggle, caught between increasing costs and low income from processors who set the prices they will pay.
Farming is a noble profession; farmers need and deserve to make a steady, predictable profit. Paying overtime at the 40-hour threshold will hurt farmers. Prices would need to rise to accommodate that pay increase.
My question: if a business needs to underpay workers to survive, isn’t that business marginal? Aren’t the workers subsidizing those businesses?
Americans need to pay farmers more for their products. We have the cheapest food in the world. Food processors get to set prices to ensure that they always make a profit, while farmers take all the risks. It is unfair and inefficient to squeeze costs out of the lowest link in the production food chain — the farm workers.
Perhaps Americans could begin to look at the true cause of the crisis in farming, and help farmers look UP the food chain for a fair return for feeding us. Americans could support farmers in their effort to get paid fairly. Maybe then we could save more family farms.