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On Wednesday, I received my daily email from the Capital Press, the weekly Ag newspaper for farmers in the Northwest. The headline caught my attention quickly, “Lawsuits challenge piece rate pay.” Piece rate pay has been an integral part of the Ag operation for years, and now the concept is under fire.

Dan Wheat, author of the article, states, “Piece rate refers to paying workers for how much fruit they pick instead of paying them by the hour. It’s been used for decades. Workers say they like it because they make more money. Growers like it because they say it’s the most economical pay method. They say the loss of it would increase their costs.”

Sounds like a win-win to me! So, what’s the problem? Everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, regardless of why a law is written, or how a law is written and interpreted, documentation is crucial for a grower when a problem arises.
Today, you might pay workers piece rate for harvest and pruning tasks. Next season, you might switch to only hourly to avoid risk of lawsuit. Then, the pendulum will steady itself back into the middle. Make sure to Implement a data collection system that captures more, rather than less, and utilize that information to drive worker efficiency and maintain detailed and thorough employee records.


A big thank you to our customers for another successful year! We’re happy to put another year in the books at 2nd Sight. If you can believe it, we’re gearing up for another busy 2019 season already.

In 2018, we released the FairPick Lite system to add even more data capture possibilities to weighing produce in the field. Internationally, we implemented our first FairTrak and FairPick Lite systems in Finland. We even created some buzz in the Netherlands with the release of the InstaCaliper electronic nursery caliper EU model.

Over the “off-season”, we have been busy reflecting on the successes of the year and implementing new software features. Every year, we gather feedback from our customers so that we can continue to meet the needs of the Ag industry. Our systems are designed for farmers, by farmer input. We continue to build our software to improve time-keeping, labor records, farm labor management, and provide the tools needed to effectively and efficiently track labor and product starting in the field.


We listened to our customers' feedback. We agreed that there was a missing piece. How can a farm track hours for employees that start or finish tasks outside of normal business hours? How can a farm electronically record accurate check-in and check-out times for those workers performing activities far from the main office or facility? Now there is MobileClock.

Download MobileClock on any Android device. Enable MobileClock for one or multiple employees at your operation. Use either cellular or Wi-Fi to sync personal time clock information in real-time when FairTrak just isn’t enough. An beta version was released to a handful of customers for testing last month. So far so good!


There is doom and gloom surrounding predictions of the impacts of climate change on water supply, degradation of soil, pollination, weed control, and lower specialty crop yields. Continued uncertainty about trade relations may take a toll on exports. An inability to create a cohesive immigration policy to provide adequate, timely, and legal labor for seasonal jobs when our domestic workforce can’t, or won’t, fill the need…. There are without question factors working against the Ag Industry that seem almost too big to control or change quickly. So, what can a farmer do today to keep the operation going?


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