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Alabama PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

Wagner-Peyser Act

Located in:

e. 1. Assessment of Need. Provide an assessment of the unique needs of farmworkers in the area based on past and projected agricultural and farmworker activity in the State. Such needs may include but are not limited to: employment, training, and housing.

Current Narrative:

Provide an assessment of the unique needs of farmworkers in the area based on past and projected agricultural and farmworker activity in the State. Such needs may include but are not limited to: employment, training, and housing.

Alabama is not identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as a significant Migrant Seasonal Farm Worker (MSFW) state, or among states with the highest estimated MSFW activity, relative to the MSFW program.

A review of the latest available statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed the number of farms in Alabama decreased significantly (-8.9%) since 2012 to number 39,700 in 2018. While all size categories registered losses, the steepest declines were found among smaller farms (less than 180 acres) which shrank 3%. Farms with 180 acres or more declined 0.5% during this period. Farm acreage also decreased (-1%) during this period. Agricultural employers number an estimated 2,200 in the state. During PY 2018, an estimated 225 agricultural job orders for almost 1,800 agricultural job openings were placed in Alabama JobLink, the state’s automated labor exchange system. It is projected that PY 2019, job orders and job openings will remain unchanged or increase slightly from the preceding year. The slight increase in agricultural job orders seem to be from a shortage of US workers available for farm work, most noticeably over the past two seasons.

An attempt to review and analyze agricultural hired farm labor, to include the number of MSFW employed and possible labor shortages in these labor-intensive crops, found only summary total agricultural labor numbers available in the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2012 Census of Agriculture. Detailed information was not found available by crop for labor. Lacking data on hired farm labor, estimates available through the Labor Exchange Agricultural Reporting System (LEARS) as determined in collaboration with WIA/MSFW grantee (Telamon Corp.), Alabama Livestock and Crop Reporting Service, Extension Service and Alabama JobLink were used to estimate the number of MSFWs in Alabama at approximately 1,400.

The estimated number of MSFW in PY 2018 appears to be up slightly from the previous year’s estimates owing to more new farms. Previously we reported that the shift to more mechanized planting and harvesting and less labor-intensive crops had declined significantly. Although not significant, there has been a noticeable increase from 2016 through 2018. No significant change in MSFW is expected in the State in PY 2019. During PY 2018, it is estimated that sixty-five (65) MSFW registered for work in Alabama JobLink (AJL).

Assessment of MSFW numbers and needs, while difficult to ascertain, have been estimated from information and input from many sources such as WIOA/MSFW 167Grantee (Telamon Corp.), Alabama Livestock and Crop Reporting Service, Extension Service and other knowledgeable sources.