Washington labor officials are seeking farmers for a customer service survey about the state’s agricultural workforce recruitment process.

The state Employment Security Department, which helps set agricultural wages and facilitate worker recruitment, has contracted outside researchers to survey growers about the experiences provided by WorkSource, the state’s platform intended to help employers and workers find each other.

“The goal of this study is to identify what is working and what can be improved so that the WorkSource system can better serve the needs of farm employers and farm workers,” said Christopher Cabrall, user experience researcher for Anthro-Tech, the Olympia, Washington, company hired by ESD.

The survey is different than the ESD’s controversial annual agricultural wage survey, which informs the federal Department of Labor’s prevailing wages, said Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association.

Anthro-Tech asks growers to fill out a preliminary, two-minute online screening at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/7142297/Upcoming-paid-research-opportunity-for-agricultural-employers. Those chosen to participate in the full survey will receive a one-time $100 payment for a roughly one-hour phone interview.

Ideal candidates should farm fruit crops with high manual labor needs, such as tree fruit, grapes and blueberries, in or near Chelan, Whatcom or Yakima counties and be willing to discuss their experiences recruiting labor and using the WorkSource process.

by Ross Courtney