Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Working Paper Number

WP #07013, June 2007; Old working paper #12827


This paper provides an updated assessment of the changing demand for farm labor, including its components and relative use, as reflected in the capital-labor ratios for California and Florida, which are major coastal producers of fresh fruits and vegetables, and of Iowa and Texas, which are two major midland agricultural states. Iowa is known for the production of the field crops of corn and soybeans. Texas is a large state with diverse climates and agriculture, which produces wheat and cotton and significant fresh fruit and vegetables. In order to get a good overview of long-term trends, much of our analysis spans more than four decades; i.e., we take this long-term perspective so as to be able to see the “forest” and not be obscured by all of the “trees” that are in noise data. In particular, this paper spans fifteen additional years of data relative to the data in my paper of one year ago (Huffman 2006)—extending the data forward over 2000 to 2004, which is the most recent data available from the USDA-ERS, and also extending backwards by an additional decade, 1960-1969. Our ability to summarize and analyze trends in US farm labor by state have depended heavily upon data collected by the USDA, but the USDA has withdrawn its funding for its data on self-employed and unpaid family labor by state. Without this information, we will be missing one of the important components of the total farm labor and farm input picture.

JEL Classification

Q1, J23

File Format



38 pages

Included in

Economics Commons