Many complex state and federal laws have been enacted since the depression era in an effort to protect workers in all industries. These laws regulate many aspects of employment including wages, working conditions, immigration, and employment opportunities. Application of these laws to agricultural employees is often more complicated because special exemptions and exceptions are provided for their employers. The complicated nature of laws and regulations for agricultural employers requires special vigilance to maintain compliance with the myriad of requirements. Read the full overview


Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1872

Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219

Portal-to-Portal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 251-262

Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 651-678

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 136-136y

Immigration Reform and Control Act, Pub. L. No. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359 (1986) (amending Immigration and Nationality Act and codified at scattered sections of 8 U.S.C.)


Temporary Employment of Foreign Workers in the U.S. Regulations , 20 C.F.R. §§ 655.0-655.1319

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Regulations, 29 C.F.R. §§ 500.0-500.271

Enforcement of Contractual Obligations for Temporary Alien Agricultural Workers … Regulations, 29 C.F.R. §§ 501.0-501.47

Child Labor Regulations, 29 C.F.R. §§ 570.1-570.5; 570.70-570.72; 570.123

Waiver of Child Labor Provisions for Agriculture Regulations, 29 C.F.R. §§ 575.1-575.9

Exemptions Applicable to Agriculture Under the Fair Labor Standards Act , 29 C.F.R. §§ 780.0-780.1016

Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Agriculture:

 29 C.F.R. §§ 1910.111(a) and (b); 1910.142; 1910.145; 1910.266

  29 C.F.R. §§ 1910.1027; 1910.1200; 1910.1201

  29 C.F.R. §§ 1928.1-1928.1027Worker Protection Standard Regulations , 40 C.F.R. §§ 170.1-170.260

Certification of Pesticide Applicators Regulations , 40 C.F.R. §§ 171.1-171.11

Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

Case Law


Case Law Index for Labor

Administrative Law Decisions

Administrative Decisions (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – US CIS)

Board of Immigration Interim Decisions (U.S. CIS)

Interpretations (U.S. CIS)

H-2A Temporary Agrilcultural Workers (USCIS)

Center Research Publications

State-Specific Direct Marketing Business Guides (National AgLaw Center & U. IL @Urbana)

Proposed Changes for Child Labor in Agriculture (Rumley, 2011)

Legal and Business Guide for Specialty Crop Producers (National AgLaw Center & U. AR Division of Agriculture)

Handbook of Laws and Regulations Affecting Arkansas Farm Employers and Employees (Looney & Copeland, 1993)

Agricultural Labor: An Employer’s Obligations and Responsibilities – PowerPoint Presentation (Springsteen, 2009)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Farm Labor

Agricultural Law Bibliography

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Legal publications on Labor:

Farm Labor

Farm Policy and Legislative Analysis

Reference Resources

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

Temporary Workers Employer Information Laws and Regulations

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Farm Safety

Economic Research Service

Briefing Room: Farm Labor


Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update (Kandel, 2008)

Hired Farmworkers a Major Input For Some U.S. Farm Sectors (Kandel, Amber Waves, 2008)

Summary of Laws and Regulations Affecting Agricultural Employees, 2000 (Runyon, 2000)

Summary of Federal Laws and Regulations Affecting Agricultural Employers, 2000

Environmental Protection Agency


National Agriculture Compliance Assistance Center

Worker Protection Standard

Occupational Pesticide Safety and Health

Safety Information Related to the Worker Protection Standard

EPA Updates Standards to Increase Standards and Protect the Health of America’s Farm Workers

How to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Employers Need to Know (2005)

Pesticide Certification

Department of Labor

Employment Law Guide, Wages and Hours Worked: Worker Protections in Agriculture

Certification for Temporary or Seasonal Agricultural Work (H-2A) (Employment and Training Administration)

Labor Fact Sheets (Wage and Hour Division)

Employment Law Guide: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection

Compliance Assistance Employment Law Guide

Temporary Agricultural Laborers H-2A

Compliance with the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

A Profile of U.S. Farmworkers (1997)

Career Guide to Industries: Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Occupations (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

Youth & Labor: Agricultural Employment

Child Labor: Bulletin No. 102

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Agricultural Operations

Compliance Assistance: Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970


State Safety and Health Plans

OSHA Fact Sheet: Final Rule to Improve Tracking Workplace Injuries and Illness

Publications: New Releases

Office of the Chief Economist (USDA-OCE)

Labor Laws

Labor Legislation

Labor Data

Research Organizations

Congressional Resources

Reports on Agricultural Labor and Farm Workers (Government Accountability Office)

Other Federal Resources

Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide (Internal Revenue Service)

Topic: Agriculture (NIOSH/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

National Ag Safety Database