Electronic timekeeping for harvesting labor

As we start to think about the upcoming harvesting season for citrus and other crops, it’s time to start planning ahead. Along with keeping accurate records, filling the labor requirements to pick our state’s crops is becoming more challenging. Whether you have domestic or H2A workers, the problem for growers is ensuring accurate records for workers’ check-in/check-out time, piecework, and location. Also, keeping track of the three-fourths guarantee for H2A-type workers is essential. Otherwise, you may get caught in a sticky situation!

Growers and harvesting contractors over the years have recorded this information on manual logs called crew time worksheets. This is a method of the past that simply cannot compete in the digital age. Many people are aware of the U.S. Department of Labor and various legal firms that check our industry to ensure that we are fair to our harvesting workers.

There are many types of field data collection devices currently available to automatically capture workers’ time, breaks, pieces, etc. As technology emerges at price points that are affordable, we will have ways to accomplish these tasks more easily and more accurately and save time and money. Two examples of these are finger VEIN readers and facial recognition. These amazing advances are not just fancy tech stuff. They represent real value that can help keep your belt tight and potentially get or keep a harvesting contract.

BIO: Rick Montney is the vice president of ProPak Software. His extensive experience spans more than 35 years in business information systems technologies, with previous employment with Exxon Office Systems, Information & Computing Services, and IBM. For the past 20 years, his focus has been on agricultural software technologies.

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