The greatest percentage of farm workers in the US works on a seasonal basis because the owners of farms and factories seek to maximize production during peak periods. Despite the invaluable contribution of farm workers to the US economy and nourishment of Americans, they earn significantly low wages and face poor working conditions.
Most farm workers live in deplorable conditions since they cannot afford decent housing and sanitation. In addition, farm workers have to endure long working hours without enough rest, and in severe weather conditions in some cases.
The main tasks for farm workers include climbing and handling soil and pesticides, which introduce numerous occupation hazards such as poisoning by toxic chemicals.
The highest percentage of reported cases on chemical injuries occurs among farm workers mainly because farm owners do not provide workers with appropriate protective gear and training on handling hazardous materials and chemicals.
Overexposure to heat and sun during work is another major cause of farm-related injuries such as sunburns and skin diseases caused by ultraviolet rays.
Immigrants constitute a significant percentage, about two-thirds, of the work force in the agricultural sector in the U.S. The formation of unions and groups to lobby for proper wages and working conditions for farm workers in America faces the challenge of language and cultural barrier.
In addition, the greatest percentage of immigrants lacks proper education and exposure, which employers exploit to deny them proper remuneration and working standards.
The lack of proper unionization among farm workers contributes occupational risks and exposure. A combination of poor working conditions and low wages leads to poor health, which translates into reduced life expectancy among farm workers compared to Americans in other occupations.
An analysis of the cases of poverty among individuals residing near farms and factories demonstrates exceedingly high poverty levels per square kilometer of population.
Farm owners can offer low wages per week and still obtain the required workforce because of the high competition and oversupply of farm labor.
Over the last half decade, wage levels for farm workers have remained stagnant despite the rising cost of living and frequent cases of inflation in America. In fact, most farm workers live below the federal recommendations of livable income.
With an annual income of about 11,000 dollars, U.S farm workers have some of the lowest wages in the country. Although the greatest expenditure on agricultural production goes into cultivation and harvesting, there is uneven distribution of the income generated through the sale of farm products.
Firms engaged in the processing of agricultural products take the largest share of the total income with growers earning about 20% of the income.
Despite the fact that farm works make the greatest contribution to agricultural production in America, they take the smallest share of the total earnings within the sector.
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