Action Alert—NFIB Members Urged to Tell their State Senators to Oppose Disruptive Agricultural Overtime Proposal

Date: February 24, 2022

House Bill 4002 would upend a traditional practice that – literally – puts food on Oregonians' tables

What is at stake is the very food we eat.

Farms and ranches are subject to special wage-and-hour regulations under state and federal law, because agricultural employers and employees work unique hours to harvest crops, take care of livestock, and keep the supply of agricultural products secure.

For that reason, the agricultural industry has been excluded from providing overtime after the first 40 hours worked in a week.

House Bill 4002 would change a law that has served Oregonians well for decades. It would phase in an agricultural overtime mandate to reach a 40-hour per week threshold over the next several years. This phase-in is paired with a tax credit that is phased-out over the same period.

When these tax credits go away, farmers and ranchers will be left without the resources necessary to maintain their operations. This is not a workable solution to keep Oregon’s agricultural industry viable – and workers employed.

When asked about agricultural overtime on their 2022 Oregon state ballot, NFIB members voted to oppose a rigid, 40-hour per week overtime threshold for Oregon’s farmers and ranchers. Read NFIB Oregon State Director Anthony Smith’s written testimony to the Joint Committee on Farm Worker Overtime here.

On February 28, HB 4002 passed the House and is now in the Senate. NFIB is asking for its members’ help in reaching every senator before they vote on HB 4002.

Act Now. Act Here.

Oregon’s farmers and ranchers will not be able to afford the increased payroll costs and will adapt by mechanizing more, reducing the number of employees, cutting back on shifts, capping employee hours, or consider moving out of state to stay in business.

Consequently, agricultural employees will see their hours and take-home pay reduced.

Nobody wins with this poorly crafted policy.

The link above allows you to customize your message.

For farmers and ranchers:

  • Do you farm produce or raise livestock? Share that.
  • Are your costs for feed, fuel, and supplies increasing and already difficult to cover? Share that.
  • Would paying overtime cause other trade-offs like lay-offs, cutting benefits, capping hours? Share that.

For non-agricultural business owners:

  • Do you have customers that are farmers, ranchers, and ag employees? Share that.
  • How will your business be impacted when your ag neighbors’ incomes are reduced? Share that.
  • What will it mean for your community and local economy if the agricultural industry is no longer economically sustainable? Share that.

Oregon’s farmers and ranchers are “price-takers,” meaning they are unable to simply raise their prices when costs go up. The outcome of House Bill 4002 will have very serious consequences for communities across the state—and will affect every small business that serves Oregon’s farmers and ranchers.

Related Content: Small Business News | Agriculture | Oregon

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