Student Research: Diane Yoder
Agriculture is a vital industry in Washington State. In 1998, agriculture directly employed 91,700 workers, making it the third largest employment sector behind only the construction and aircraft industries providing jobs in the state of Washington. In 1997, Washington led the nation in the production of the thirteen crops as well as being a significant producer of several other major farm commodities. Due to the type of crops produced, seasonal and migrant workers are critical to the success of Washington State agriculture.
Farm crops that rely heavily on seasonal farm workers consist of tree fruits, vegetable crops, berry crops, and nursery products. In 1998, the Washington State Employment Security Department reported that Washington farm workers were mostly comprised of Hispanic workers, who originate from Mexico. Many Hispanic farm workers have settled in Washington only recently. Others live in southwestern states or Mexico and migrate to Washington each year. Many of these workers speak only Spanish and have completed less than eight years of education. The average annual earnings for agricultural workers in 1997 was less than $10,000. Many farm workers worked in non-farm jobs to supplement annual earnings. Including farm and non farm work, the average annual earnings for agricultural workers in 1997 was slightly over $10,000.
Taken from the beginning of thesis.