Labor Law and Management


Tipsheets based on CISA’s Winter Workshops Series on Farm Labor are marked with the CISA logo:

CISA logo for resources  Labor Laws for Massachusetts Farms

The rules and regulations surrounding wages, overtime, breaks, and other labor requirements vary from state to state, and often state law is not aligned with federal law. This guide is designed to help farmers ensure that they are adhering to applicable laws,

CISA logo for resources Employee Hiring and Management

Tips from farmers and career professionals on hiring, organizing, managing, and evaluating employees.

CISA logo for resources  H-2A Decision-Making Guide

Walks farmers through the pros and cons of the H-2A program, which is a federal program that brings non-immigrant foreign laborers into the country for agricultural work.   

CISA logo for resources  Management Case Study: Farm Internships

Stone Soup Farm and Brookfield Farm are CSA farms that focus on teaching their employees the skills they will need to run their own farms. The two farms offer similar pay and benefits, including on-farm housing and shared meals. However, their apprenticeships are structured in very different ways, and they reflect the possible range of successful management techniques.

Funding for the project was provided by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education and by individual contributors and Local Hero members.

Additional Tipsheets:

Writing a Farm Employee Handbook
Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension
A well-written employee handbook can save you lots of time and aggravation down the road. It can also enhance employee performance by helping them understand exactly what you expect. In addition, the handbook can be a useful tool for orientation every time you hire new help. This tipsheet offers suggestions about what an employee handbook should contain.

Is my Internship Legal? 
New England Small Farms Institute
While interning on a farm is an effective and time-honored way to learn the craft and business of farming, because of the non-traditional compensation offered to many interns, typically a mix of stipends, room & board, and education, many farms don’t comply with labor laws, and don’t realize that they risk fines by the Department of Labor. Find out if your internship meets standards with this tipsheet.

Understanding Apprenticeships
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
A basic guide to some of the economic benefits and federal regulations of apprenticeships.

Additional Resources:

Farm Commons: Resources on Labor Law
Farm Commons produces a variety of resources to advise farmers on complying with federal labor laws and offer labor management tips.

ATTRA: Internship Network
This network helps farmers and interns/apprentices to connect with each other in a given area.

Department of Labor Regulations
Department of Labor standards and guidelines.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This site offers a number of resources, articles, tips and guides concerning agricultural safety.

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