Work for Hire

Work for Hire

Farmers outsource fieldwork to save machinery expenses


Instead of owning all the equipment needed for every field operation, many farmers are opting to custom hire out some tasks. 

“Custom hiring allows a farmer short-term control of a machine without investing a large amount of capital,” says William Edwards, Iowa State University retired economist. “It has several advantages compared with owning.” 

For instance, when farmers hire out certain jobs, the machine comes with an operator, which allows the farmer to perform other tasks without having to hire extra help. The custom operator’s machine will likely be newer and in good mechanical condition.  

On the flip side, farmers who hire out fieldwork will not have control over the quality of the job or time frame. “The custom operator may not be able to harvest the crop when it is convenient for the owner or during the optimum time period,” Edwards says. He suggests working out a schedule or priority list ahead of time.

Custom Rates

Many universities track annual average custom rates. Here are the most recent prices from Iowa State University, Ohio State University, Kansas State University and Mississippi State University. 


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