Migrant and Seasonal Farm Workers

Migrant farm workers travel to Iowa each year to help with the cultivation and harvest of crops. Iowa Workforce Development’s Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker (MSFW) outreach program is focused on educating and assisting farm workers and agricultural employers. Farm workers receive training and employment services through IowaWORKS Centers to assist with attaining greater economic stability. The State Monitor Advocate helps ensure farm workers are served equitably through workforce programs.

Agricultural-based employers may include farmers (both crop and livestock), farm co-operatives, grain elevators, green houses, food processors and nurseries.  Some may contract with farm labor contractors to oversee the hiring and payment of the migrant or seasonal crews.

Seasonal Farm Worker

A seasonal farm worker is a person who meets the following criteria:

  • during the preceding 12 months, worked at least an aggregate of 25 or more days or parts of days in which some work was performed in farm work
  • earned at least half of his or her earned income from farm work
  • not employed in farm work year round by the same employer

Migrant Farm Worker

A Migrant Farm Worker is a seasonal farm worker who has to travel to do the farm work and is unable to return to his or her permanent residence within the same day.

Migrant Food Processing Worker

A Migrant Food Processing Worker is a person who meets the following criteria:

  • during the preceding 12 months, has worked at least an aggregate of 25 or more days or parts of days in which some work was performed in food processing (as classified in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 311411, 311611, 311421 for food processing establishments)
  • earned at least half of his or her earned income from food processing work
  • not employed in food processing work year round by the same employer, provided that the food processing required travel does not enable the worker to return to his or her permanent residence in the same day

Migrant food processing workers who are full-time students but who travel in organized groups rather than with their families are excluded.

Contact Information

MSFW Program Coordinator
Iowa Workforce Development
Division of Workforce Services
1000 E Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
Email: msfw@iwd.iowa.gov

Additional Resources

Proteus, Inc.

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA)

MSPA Registered Farm Labor Contractor Listing

MSPA Ineligible Farm Labor Contractors

MSPA Compliance Poster

Fair Labor Standards Fact Sheet #49

Iowa Department of Public Health Migrant Labor Camp Program