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Definition of agriculture

Under Minnesota law, "agriculture" means farming in all its branches and includes:  dairying; field production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agriculture 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 farmers' agriculture products as well as repair, maintenance and construction work that is connected to or incidental to agriculture operations.

Overtime for agriculture workers

Agriculture employees are entitled to overtime compensation under Minnesota law if they are paid by any means other than a "salary." Hourly agriculture 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.

Agriculture employees are exempt from the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, federal law does not supersede Minnesota's requirement to pay overtime. 

"Salary" is defined as a guaranteed predetermined wage for each workweek.

Agriculture workers are exempt from state law overtime requirements if they are paid a certain minimum salary.

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

Minimum wage for agriculture workers

All agriculture workers are entitled to either the federal minimum wage or the Minnesota minimum wage, whichever is higher. 

Federal minimum wage

Agriculture employers are required to pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, unless they did not use more than 500 “man days” of agriculture labor in any calendar quarter of the preceding calendar-year or they did not gross at least $500,000 in the past year.

In addition, the following agriculture employees are also exempt from federal minimum wage requirements: 

  • agriculture employees who are immediate family members of their employer;

  • those principally engaged on the range in the production of livestock;

  • local hand-harvest laborers who commute daily from their permanent residence, are paid on a piece rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations and were engaged in agriculture less than 13 weeks during the preceding calendar-year; and

  • non-local minors, 16 years of age or younger, who are hand-harvesters, paid on a piece-rate basis in traditionally piece-rated occupations, employed on the same farm as their parent and paid the same piece-rate as those older than 16. 

Minnesota minimum wage

Agriculture workers are not exempt from the state minimum wage. If the employees are exempt from federal minimum wage, they are still required to be paid the Minnesota minimum wage.

Minors 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 a child labor exemption permit issued by the state of Minnesota.

Minors ages 16 and 17 years old

Minors age 16 and 17 years old are allowed to work in agriculture during school hours on school days. No permit is required.

Migrant workers in agriculture

 At the time a migrant worker is recruited, an employer must provide a written statement in English and Spanish that shall include the following:

  • the date when the statement was completed;

  • the name and permanent address of the worker, employers or recruiter of the migrant worker;

  • the date of the arrival of the migrant worker;

  • the crops and the operation where the worker will be employed; 

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

  • whether the housing will be provided. 

Agriculture employers shall provide health insurance when they recruit migrant workers and employ five or more people during the period of employment, for any illness or injury incurred while employed. 

Agriculture employers are required to pay migrant workers at least every two weeks, except upon termination, when the employer shall pay within three days. Migrant 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.