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July 2009

Nonfamily youths temporarily employed in agriculture

John C. Becker, Fern K. Willits, Anastasia Snyder, Dennis J. Murphy, James Hilton, Andrea Ryan, Prem Bahandari

The study presented in this research summary was undertaken to increase researchers’ understanding of the nature of the 12- to 20-year-old farm workforce that is employed by people other than youths’ parents. The focus of the research was, on the one hand, the characteristics and perspectives of the agricultural employers who hire youth workers, and on the other hand, the attributes and views of the youth workers themselves. The aim was to answer a series of questions: How well do these young workers meet the needs and expectations of their employers? What are the effects of the farmwork experience on the youth workers? What are their reasons for seeking agricultural employment? What are these youths’ perceptions of farming after their labor? and, finally, Do these youths show any interest in later employment in agriculture? Answering these questions is important because the answers may lead to knowledge about the role these workers will play in the future of U.S. agriculture.

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