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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 19, 2020

Title 29Subtitle BChapter VSubchapter BPart 780Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 29: Labor
PART 780—EXEMPTIONS APPLICABLE TO AGRICULTURE, PROCESSING OF AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES, AND RELATED SUBJECTS UNDER THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT
Subpart B—General Scope of Agriculture


Performance of the Practice “As an Incident To or In Conjunction With” the Farming Operations

§780.144   “As an incident to or in conjunction with” the farming operations.

In order for practices other than actual farming operations to constitute “agriculture” within the meaning of section 3(f) of the Act, it is not enough that they be performed by a farmer or on a farm in connection with the farming operations conducted by such farmer or on such farm, as explained in §§780.129 through 780.143. They must also be performed “as an incident to or in conjunction with” these farming operations. The line between practices that are and those that are not performed “as an incident to or in conjunction with” such farming operations is not susceptible of precise definition. Generally, a practice performed in connection with farming operations is within the statutory language only if it constitutes an established part of agriculture, is subordinate to the farming operations involved, and does not amount to an independent business. Industrial operations (Holtville Alfalfa Mills v. Wyatt, 230 F. 2d 398) and processes that are more akin to manufacturing than to agriculture (Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254; Mitchell v. Budd, 350 U.S. 473) are not included. This is also true when on-the-farm practices are performed for a farmer. As to when practices may be regarded as performed for a farmer, see §780.143.

§780.145   The relationship is determined by consideration of all relevant factors.

The character of a practice as a part of the agricultural activity or as a distinct business activity must be determined by examination and evaluation of all the relevant facts and circumstances in the light of the pertinent language and intent of the Act. The result will not depend on any mechanical application of isolated factors or tests. Rather, the total situation will control (Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254; Mitchell v. Budd, 350 U.S. 473). Due weight should be given to any available criteria which may indicate whether performance of such a practice may properly be considered an incident to farming within the intent of the Act. Thus, the general relationship, if any, of the practice to farming as evidenced by common understanding, competitive factors, and the prevalence of its performance by farmers (see §780.146), and similar pertinent matters should be considered. Other factors to be considered in determining whether a practice may be properly regarded as incidental to or in conjunction with the farming operations of a particular farmer or farm include the size of the operations and respective sums invested in land, buildings and equipment for the regular farming operations and in plant and equipment for performance of the practice, the amount of the payroll for each type of work, the number of employees and the amount of time they spend in each of the activities, the extent to which the practice is performed by ordinary farm employees and the amount of interchange of employees between the operations, the amount of revenue derived from each activity, the degree of industrialization involved, and the degree of separation established between the activities. With respect to practices performed on farm products (see §780.147) and in the consideration of any specific practices (see §§780.148-780.158 and 780.205-780.214), there may be special factors in addition to those above mentioned which may aid in the determination.

§780.146   Importance of relationship of the practice to farming generally.

The inclusion of incidental practices in the definition of agriculture was not intended to include typical factory workers or industrial operations, and the sponsors of the bill made it clear that the erection and operation on a farm by a farmer of a factory, even one using raw materials which he grows, “would not make the manufacturing *  *  * a farming operation” (see 81 Cong. Rec. 7658; Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254). Accordingly, in determining whether a given practice is performed “as an incident to or in conjunction with” farming operations under the intended meaning of section 3(f), the nature of the practice and the circumstances under which it is performed must be considered in the light of the common understanding of what is agricultural and what is not, or the facts indicating whether performance of the practice is in competition with agricultural or with industrial operations, and of the extent to which such a practice is ordinarily performed by farmers incidentally to their farming operations (see Bowie v. Gonzales, 117 F. 2d 11; Calaf v. Gonzalez, 127 F. 2d 934; Vives v. Seralles, 145 F. 2d 552; Mitchell v. Hunt, 263 F. 2d 913; Holtville Alfalfa Mills v. Wyatt, 230 F. 2d 398; Mitchell v. Budd, 350 U.S. 473; Maneja v. Waialua, supra). Such an inquiry would appear to have a direct bearing on whether a practice is an “established” part of agriculture. The fact that farmers raising a commodity on which a given practice is performed do not ordinarily perform such a practice has been considered a significant indication that the practice is not “agriculture” within the secondary meaning of section 3(f) (Mitchell v. Budd, supra; Maneja v. Waialua, supra). The test to be applied is not the proportion of those performing the practice who produce the commodities on which it is performed but the proportion of those producing such commodities who perform the practice (Maneja v. Waialua, supra). In Mitchell v. Budd, supra, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the following two factors tipped the scales so as to take the employees of tobacco bulking plants outside the scope of agriculture: Tobacco farmers do not ordinarily perform the bulking operation; and, the bulking operation is a process which changes tobacco leaf in many ways and turns it into an industrial product.

§780.147   Practices performed on farm products—special factors considered.

In determining whether a practice performed on agricultural or horticultural commodities is incident to or in conjunction with the farming operations of a farmer or a farm, it is also necessary to consider the type of product resulting from the practice—as whether the raw or natural state of the commodity has been changed. Such a change may be a strong indication that the practice is not within the scope of agriculture (Mitchell v. Budd, 350 U.S. 473); the view was expressed in the legislative debates on the Act that it marks the dividing line between processing as an agricultural function and processing as a manufacturing operation (Maneja v. Waialua, 349 U.S. 254, citing 81 Cong. Rec. 7659-7660, 7877-7879). Consideration should also be given to the value added to the product as a result of the practice and whether a sales organization is maintained for the disposal of the product. Seasonality of the operations involved in the practice would not be very helpful as a test to distinguish between operations incident to agriculture and operations of commercial or industrial processors who handle a similar volume of the same seasonal crop. But the length of the period during which the practice is performed might cast some light on whether the operations are conducted as a part of agriculture or as a separate undertaking when considered together with the amount of investment, payroll, and other factors. In some cases, the fact that products resulting from the practice are sold under the producer's own label rather than under that of the purchaser may furnish an indication that the practice is conducted as a separate business activity rather than as a part of agriculture.

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