Agricultural Employment

Reference: Minnesota Law, §268.035 Subd.2, §268.035 Subd.11 (5) (6) and §268.035 Subd.16

An agricultural employer must register for an employer account when it meets either of the following conditions:

  • The employer pays 4 or more employees, including officers or shareholders of family farm corporations and workers 16 and under, in any part of at least 20 calendar weeks during a calendar year*; or
  • The employer pays $20,000 or more in cash or non-cash wages to employees, including officers or shareholders of family farm corporations and workers 16 and under, during a calendar quarter*.

    *unless already an employer under FUTA – reference IRS Publication 51

For reportability of wages paid to officers of family farm corporations, see “Special Treatment of Family Farm Corporations” below. Wages paid to agricultural workers under age 16 are not reportable regardless of the type of farm entity, unless the entity is an employer as defined by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

For coverage rules that apply to employees who are members of a crew furnished by a crew leader, reference Minnesota Law §268.035 Subd.11 (2) (3) (4).

Definition of agricultural employment

Agricultural employment is any service performed by an employee on a farm in connection with cultivating the soil or in raising or harvesting an agricultural or horticultural commodity. A farm is land or buildings used primarily for raising agricultural or horticultural commodities or as part of a ranch, range, livestock or dairy operation. Feedlots, hatcheries, and horse breeding and training enterprises are not farms.

Farms include stock, dairy, poultry, fruit, truck and fur-bearing animal farms, as well as orchards, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, and greenhouses. Service performed in connection with the operation, management, conservation, improvement, and maintenance of a farm is agricultural if the employer is the owner, tenant, or operator of the farm and the major part of the service is performed on the farm.

 Special Treatment of Family Farm Corporations

Service performed by an officer or shareholder of a family farm corporation is excluded from agricultural labor and employment unless the corporation is an employer as defined by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

A family farm corporation must meet all three of these requirements:

  1. It must be founded for the purposes of farming and the ownership of agricultural land;
  2. At least one related member must live on or actively operate the farm; and
  3. The majority of the stockholders must be related to each other within the third degree of kindred*.

*Kindred include the following family relationships:

First degree
Parents and children
Second degree
Grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters
Third degree
Uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and great-grandparents

This handbook is based on current UI legislation; statements are intended for general information and do not have the effect of law. The Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law - MN Statutes 268.001 to 268.23 and Administrative Rules 3310 and 3315 - can be accessed through our website at by clicking Employers & Agents, Help and Support, then the UI Law link.

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