There were 1,157,000 hired workers on the nation's farms and ranches during the week of Oct. 10-16, 2010, up 4% from a year ago. Of these hired workers, 826,000 were hired directly by farm operators. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 331,000 workers.

The largest increases in the number of hired workers from last year occurred in California, and in the Corn Belt I (Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), Appalachian I (North Carolina and Virginia) and Northern Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) regions. Above normal winter precipitation in California allowed more acreage to be cropped due to increased availability of irrigation water. Therefore, more hired workers were needed. In the remaining three regions, weather conditions were virtually ideal compared with last year's excessively wet reference week. This caused increased demand for field workers as the corn and soybean harvests progressed rapidly.

The largest decreases in the number of hired workers from last year occurred in the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina), Pacific (Oregon and Washington) and Southern Plains (Oklahoma and Texas) regions. Abnormally dry conditions in the Southeast and Southern Plains regions slowed small grain seeding and reduced the demand for hired workers. In the Pacific region, above-normal rains kept pasture grasses plentiful and lessened the need for livestock movement. This led to fewer workers being required.