Last week, Farm Credit East issued a report analyzing the impact of a $15 minimum wage on agriculture, which finds that “[t]he additional labor costs resulting from this proposal could clearly impact many farms’ financial viability and affect future decisions to expand or modernize facilities.”

According to the report, a $15 minimum wage in New York State would cost farmers between $387 and $622 million in 2021 at the peak of the wage rollout. The greatest impact would be on dairy, fruit, vegetable, greenhouse and nursery sectors of the state’s agricultural industry.

The report finds that the impacts will be felt in the agricultural industry in two main ways. First, labor intensive agriculture operations will consider agricultural enterprises that are less labor intensive (such as fruit production shifting to grain production). Second, more full-time farms will transition to part-time farms to avoid hiring labor. Overall, this will reduce the size of New York’s agricultural industry, which will also adversely impact the state’s food processing and marketing businesses.

This is yet another example of why we are speaking out against the proposed $15 per hour minimum wage.