Farmers to be paid $300 per tractor with minimum wage increase, but not by farmers
The Federal Communications Commission on Monday voted to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 per hour, an increase that could help feed millions of workers but could be a drag on the nation’s agriculture industry.
The FCC voted 3-2 to approve a measure that would increase the minimum hourly wage to the current rate of $11.25, which is higher than the national average.
The agency also voted to establish a $1.25-per-hour overtime pay rate for federal employees who work at least 40 hours per week.
The commission also approved a rule to require the National Farmers Union to pay farmers for the work they do to sell their produce.
The measure is one of several that President Donald Trump signed in March to support farmers, who face increasing costs and competition from foreign competition.
The move comes as the country is grappling with the impacts of rising food prices, the nation is in its fourth consecutive year of record crop losses and the cost of crop production continues to skyrocket.
Under the current proposal, which will go into effect on July 1, the minimum wage would rise to $13.50 per hour by 2022, with the rate rising to $16.50 in 2024.
The proposed hike is higher still than the $10.10 an hour minimum wage currently paid by the nation.
The $15 minimum wage is the lowest rate the federal government pays to workers.
The proposal was supported by several Democratic senators, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp.
Republicans opposed the proposal, saying it would hurt small-scale farmers and would increase costs for businesses.
James Lankford of Oklahoma and Thom Tillis of North Carolina said the increase is not enough.
The $15 hourly rate is also a result of the administration’s efforts to help farmers.
The FCC voted in March on a proposal to increase farmers’ minimum wage by an average of $1 an hour, which would provide a $10,000 annual boost to low-wage farmers and small-business owners.
The average cost of an annual salary for a full-time employee in the agricultural sector was $23,000 last year, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The Commission is expected to finalize its proposed rate hike by mid-September, with a final vote expected at a later date.