The Changing Landscape – Everything Agricultural Employers Should Understand About Farm Labor Law


In April 2023, according to USDA’s annual Farm Labor report, there were 651,000 workers employed directly by farms and ranches, up 5% from the same week in 2022.  Labor costs for those hired workers, according to data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture, account for an overall 12 percent of production expenses for all farms.  However, that number was significantly higher for more labor-intensive businesses such as greenhouse and nursery operations (43%), and fruit and tree nut operations (39%).  From any perspective, hired laborers are an important component to agricultural production in the United States, and it is essential that that agricultural employers are familiar with laws and regulations relevant to those employees.

The discussion will include several major topics of immediate and national interest:

  1. Staffing solutions to labor shortages in the agricultural industry;
  2. OSHA compliance concerning heat related illnesses;
  3. Wage and Hour compliance and the rapidly changing pace of misclassification, plaintiffs suits and changes to the adverse effect wage rate;
  4. Employment eligibility verification compliance and updates to Form I-9 and federal E-Verify programs;
  5. Agricultural employers and their interactions with pregnant employees;
  6. Agricultural employers and their relationship with student workers, child labor and interns; and
  7. Agricultural employers and their obligation to yield to religious accommodations in view of recent Supreme Court precedent.

Time and Date:

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Noon – 1 p.m. (EDT)

11 a.m. – Noon (CDT)



Brandon Davis is a Partner at the New Orleans office of Phelps Dunbar.  Brandon has extensive experience in labor and employment issues focusing on immigration matters facing businesses.  Specifically, he represents employers and individuals in a variety of immigration matters including civil and criminal worksite enforcement defense, visa petitions for employees, students, investors/traders, intracompany transfers, and family sponsored petitions. In this capacity, he has successfully represented employers and individuals in H-1B visas.  He is a frequent speaker on a variety of employment issues and has been a trusted resource for his clients in the face of increased attention to immigration issues.

Research & Materials:

Presentation Slides