Dr. Fritz Roka

Extension: Agricultural Economics

Seasonal field labor is particularly important to both vegetable and citrus growers who depend on these workers to transplant, stake, tie, prune and finally harvest the season’s crop. The availability of farmworkers in southwest Florida is critical from December to March when the citrus harvest is in full swing and vegetable growers are occupied with a full slate of growing and harvest activities. The National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) has found that migrant farmworkers comprise 67 percent of total farm work force in Florida. Below are documents that will provide a better understanding of the regulations that affect farm workers and demographics of the farm workers in Florida.

Farm Labor Supervisor Training Program
Classes Resources
2009 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Immigration Reform Programs [Federal]

Fritz Roka, Michael Olexa, Katherine Smallwood, Leo Polopolus, and Carol Fountain.

This handbook is intended to provide a convenient reference to the major provisions of the several state and federal regulations that affect farm employers and employees. It reflects state and federal laws as of July 1, 2009, only as they apply to farmworkers and not to workers considered non-agricultural. Its purpose is simply to focus employers and employees on the fundamental provisions of the laws which govern their relationships.

Download:  2009 Handbook of Employment Regulations Affecting Florida Farm Employers and Workers: Immigration Reform Programs [Federal]  (EDIS)

Compensating Farm Workers through Piece Rates: Implications on Harvest Costs and Worker Earnings

F. M. Roka. University of Florida, IFAS, FE 792, February 2009.

Piece rates are a common method of payment for farm workers who harvest fresh fruit and vegetable crops. A piece rate directly affects both production costs and farm worker hourly earnings. The purpose of this paper is to explain how a piece rate payment system works and further explain its implications on production costs and farm worker earnings. Various points are illustrated through citrus and tomato harvesting examples.

Download:  Compensating Farm Workers through Piece Rates: Implications on Harvest Costs and Worker Earnings (EDIS)

Farmworkers in Southwest Florida-Final Report

F.M. Roka & D. Cook, September 30, 1998.

A long term goal among community leaders in southwest Florida is to improve the quality and quantity of farmworker housing. A reliable statistical description of the farmworker population could help draft future housing plans and guide the delivery of health, educational, and other public services. This paper reports the findings of that study effort. The study objectives were to collect data on the size and demographic features of the seasonal farmworker population in southwest Florida. Unlike the previous studies, this effort attempts to base farmworker population estimates more closely around the agricultural production activities.

Download: Farmworkers in Southwest Florida - Final Report  [pdf]

Piece Rates, Hourly Wages and Daily Farm Worker Income

F.M. Roka & R. Emerson, University of Florida, IFAS, April 1999, Citrus and Vegetable Magazine (April):10-12, Immokalee Report.

During the 1997/98 production season, data were collected on a sample of seasonal farm workers harvesting oranges and tomatoes in southwest Florida. From these data, one can calculate average worker productivity, effective hourly wage and daily harvest income. This document summarizes the harvest performance of crews from which data were obtained. This summary provides some evidence of average hourly and daily earnings. The interpretation of the data is limited, however, to only field workers harvesting during a peak production period in southwest Florida (January 1998).

Download: Price Rates, Hourly Wages and Daily Farm Worker Income [pdf]

Seasonal Farmworker Demographics

F.M. Roka, University of Florida, IFAS, February 1999, Immokalee Report.

This article outlines some important demographic questions that focus on maintaining an adequate supply of seasonal farmworkers for the citrus and fresh vegetable industries. In addition, some of the available information is presented and the objectives of an upcoming labor survey for southwest Florida are discussed.

Download: Seasonal Farmworker Demographics [pdf]


Associate Professor, Agricultural Economics