CFAES Give Today

Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Ohio State Survey to Explore Ohio Farm Custom Work Rates

Feb. 11, 2014

This article was originally published on the website of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Agricultural economists from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences are again surveying Ohio growers to learn how often they hire farm workers and machinery operators and at what pay rates.

The Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey is conducted biannually by Barry Ward, production business management leader for Ohio State University Extension and faculty member in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE), as a means of gauging farm work completed by others, which is often referred to as "custom farm work" or "custom work."

The survey is targeted at both those who hired custom farm work and those who performed the work.

"Custom workers are often engaged due to a farm business owner's lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation," Ward said. "A 'custom rate' is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider."

The data gathered through the custom rate survey is published by OSU Extension and used by Extension professionals in their work with Ohio communities. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.

The survey has been useful over the years as custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom-farming rate based on the results.

"We need farmers' assistance in securing up-to-date information about farm custom work rates, machinery and building rental rates, and hired labor costs in Ohio," Ward said. "We would ask that you respond even if you know only a few rates.

"We want information on actual rates, either what you paid to hire custom work or what you charged if you perform custom work."

The survey can be completed online at: The deadline is March 7.

The survey is administered through Ohio State's Farm Management program, which is overseen by Ward and provides resources such as budgeting tools, decision tools, and data and statistics, for those working in agriculture across the state of Ohio and beyond.

To learn more about the Ohio State Farm Management program, visit

February 11, 2014