Farmers across Washington continue trying to adjust their books as Ag overtime has thrown another wrinkle in the day-to-day operations of farming.  Derek Sandison, Director of the Washington state Department of Agriculture, said in his conversations with producers across the state, the reaction has been mixed.


“Farmers are price takers, so they can't just simply up their crop cost or value in in response to the overtime requirements.  So, some are simply not able to pay overtime and still stay competitive.  Others are better positioned to do that and so you've seen some movement of workers from employers that can't pay overtime to those that can.  We've seen some producer trying to increase the number of workers they're bringing in.”


Sandison says while producers across the state enjoyed very strong prices last year, overtime costs, along with other elevated input costs, continue to eat away at potential profits.  What advice does Sandison have as producers continue trying to navigate these uncharted waters?


“We want producers to stay very close to their agricultural associations who are following this closely are looking at the legal aspects of it and are in the best position to give advice to employers or producers in terms of how to deal with the overtime requirement.”



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