Recruiting and retaining qualified agricultural labor is an ongoing concern for many Colorado farmers and ranchers. This issue is complex and factors such as job market competition, lack of interest in manual labor jobs, wages, affordable housing, and H-2A policy combine to create the current situation. Lack of accurate data from agricultural employers is another factor impeding stakeholder understanding of the situation and thus ability to advocate effectively toward viable solutions.
Research and Extension faculty from Colorado State University are collaborating with key Colorado ag sector partners to design and promote an online survey intended to characterize employer perceptions of ag labor in Colorado. Partners include: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association, National Young Farmers Coalition, and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union.
A comprehensive Colorado ag labor survey has not been done in many decades.
Preliminary findings will be released in Q1 2021 with a full report to follow later that year. Survey design allows filtering of responses by county, ag product, economic class, business tenure and more.
Farmer and rancher responses in this online survey are voluntary and anonymous. The survey is 45 questions and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. There are no anticipated risks or benefits from providing online responses. Respondents may withdraw from participation at any time during the online survey process.
CSU Extension will use this data to create educational programs and resources, inform influencers and decision makers regarding the ag labor conditions in Colorado, and hopefully find creative solutions to current challenges.
Please respond before February 1, 2021.