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Definition of agriculture

Under Minnesota rule "agriculture" means farming in all its branches and includes, but is not limited to:  dairying; the field production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural commodity; and the raising of livestock, bees, fur-bearing animals and poultry. Agriculture also includes cleaning, processing, preserving, loading and transporting to market or storage of a farmers' own agriculture products, as well as repair, maintenance and construction work that is connected to or incidental to agriculture operations.

Overtime for agricultural workers

Agricultural employees are entitled to overtime compensation under Minnesota law except in limited circumstances. Hourly agricultural employees in Minnesota must be paid overtime at the rate of time-and-a-half the employee's regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 48 hours in a workweek.

Agricultural employees are exempt from the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. However, agricultural employers are still responsible for overtime obligations under Minnesota law except in limited circumstances.

Agricultural workers are exempt from Minnesota overtime requirements if they are paid a salary greater than a certain minimum amount each week (see below). "Salary" is defined as a guaranteed predetermined wage for each workweek

Provision Current law
Large-employer salary $759.26 a week
Small-employer salary $618.87 a week

Minimum wage for agricultural workers

Agricultural workers are entitled to the Minnesota minimum wage, which is higher than the federal minimum wage.

Minor agricultural workers — ages 12 to 15 years old

  • Minors as young as 12 years old may work in agriculture if they have parental or guardian consent.

  • These minors are allowed to work more than eight hours in a day and more than 40 hours in a week only if they have parental or guardian consent.

  • These minors may not work during school hours on school days without an employment certificate.

Minor agricultural workers — ages 16 and 17 years old

Minor agricultural workers ages 16 and 17 years old are allowed to work in agriculture during school hours on school days.

Migrant cannery workers in Minnesota

Under Minnesota law, at the time a migrant cannery worker is recruited, the employer must provide a written employment statement in English and Spanish that includes the following information:

  • the date when and the place where the statement was completed and provided to the worker;

  • the name and permanent address of the worker, employer and recruiter;

  • the date the worker is to arrive at the place of employment, the date employment will begin, the approximate hours of employment and the minimum period of employment;

  • the work the worker will perform; 

  • the wage rates to be paid, the payment terms and any deductions to be made from wages; and

  • whether housing will be provided.

Under Minnesota law, employers are required to pay recruited migrant cannery workers at least every two weeks, except upon termination, when the employer must pay within three days. Recruited migrant cannery workers are also guaranteed a minimum of 70 hours pay for work in any two successive weeks.

Compliance with both federal and state laws is required for employers engaged in agriculture in the state of Minnesota. For more information regarding responsibilities under federal law, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.