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With the right payroll software, farm owners can focus on improving their productivity instead of worrying about calculating employee salaries, taxes and benefits. However, payroll software can only benefit your farm or agricultural business if you find the right product at the right price. Below, we review the best payroll software for farms in 2024.

Top farm payroll software: Comparison table

Vendor Starting monthly price Free trial Time tracking Automatic tax filing Accounting software integration
OnPay $40 + $6/payee 30 days Yes Yes Yes
SurePayroll by Paychex $19.99 + $4/payee 30 days Yes Yes (full-service plan only) Yes
QuickBooks Payroll $45 + $6/payee 30 days With some plans Yes With QuickBooks only
Gusto $40 + $6/payee No Yes Yes Yes
Patriot Payroll $17 + $4/payee 30 days Additional fee Yes (full-service plan only) With QuickBooks only
Paychex Custom No Additional fee Yes Additional fee

Top farm payroll software

OnPay: Best overall agriculture payroll software

The OnPay logo.
Image: OnPay

Our star rating: 4.7 out of 5

OnPay is easily one of the best, most user-friendly small-business payroll software providers. Its comprehensive farming payroll software can handle the basic payroll needs of farm businesses across all 50 U.S. states. The software’s simple user interface makes it easy for new users to set up their accounts, add employees and process payroll with a few clicks.

The software has features that can automatically prepare Form 943. With OnPay, you only get charged for active employees to prevent additional charges for off-farm seasons. Your farm business can also leverage OnPay to process minimum wage rates for workers and approve debits from debit cards. OnPay also connects to key accounting solutions such as QuickBooks and Xero.

For more information, check out our full OnPay review.

Pricing

OnPay costs a flat rate of $40 per month plus $6 per agricultural employee paid per month.

Features

  • Full-service payroll for W-2 employees, 1099 contractors and H-2A laborers.
  • Multiple employee pay methods including direct deposit, debit card or check.
  • Automatic payroll tax preparation, including Form 943.
  • Unlimited monthly payruns.
  • Integration with popular business software solutions like Xero and QuickBooks.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • No fee for off-cycle payruns.
  • Farm-specific payroll software.
  • White-glove setup at no additional charge.
  • Extremely comprehensive payroll software with robust HR tools.
  • One plan only (limited scalability for growing farming businesses).
  • No 24/7 customer support.

SurePayroll by Paychex: Most affordable

SurePayroll by Paychex logo.
Image: SurePayroll by Paychex

Our star rating: 4.7 out of 5

SurePayroll by Paychex offers payroll and tax filing services specifically tailored to small businesses operating on a budget. As a result, it is suitable for those small or growing farm businesses with agricultural payroll needs. SurePayroll by Paychex doesn’t charge any setup fees or additional fees for unlimited payroll runs, allowing you to manage your payroll effortlessly and at a lower-than-average monthly cost.

With SurePayroll by Paychex, farm owners do not need to struggle with the federal tax return for agricultural employees. The software also provides flexible payment options and payroll reporting both on desktop and mobile devices.

Learn more about whether SurePayroll by Paychex will work for your agricultural business by reading our complete SurePayroll by Paychex review.

Pricing

SurePayroll by Paychex offers two pricing options.

  • Self-Service Payroll: $19.99 per month + $4 per payee. Includes unlimited payroll runs with self-service tax filing.
  • Full-Service Payroll: $29.99 per month + $5 per payee. Includes unlimited payroll runs with full-service tax administration.

Features

  • Option to split paychecks into multiple accounts.
  • Multiple pay options (direct deposit or self-printed checks).
  • Support for multiple pay rates and schedules.
  • Full-service and self-service payroll supports W-2 employees and 1099 contractors.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Form 943 preparation.
  • On-the-go payroll app.
  • Integration with leading accounting software, such as Xero, Zoho Books, AccountEdge and QuickBooks.
  • No 24/7 support for users.

QuickBooks Payroll: Best for small farms

The QuickBooks logo.
Image: QuickBooks

Our star rating: 4.1 out of 5

Intuit QuickBooks Payroll is a cloud payroll service designed to serve every type of business. The payroll solution has enough features to help farm owners automate their payroll needs. For instance, QuickBooks Payroll includes standard features like automated tax calculations and filing, benefits administration, reporting and unlimited payroll runs.

You can use QuickBooks Payroll as a standalone payroll software or integrate it with QuickBooks Online, one of the best, most popular accounting software programs for agricultural businesses across the United States.

To learn more about how QuickBooks Payroll works, read our complete QuickBooks Online Payroll review.

Pricing

QuickBooks Payroll offers three plans:

  • QuickBooks Payroll Core: $45 per month plus $6 per employee per month.
  • QuickBooks Payroll Premium: $80 per month plus $8 per employee per month.
  • QuickBooks Payroll Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month.

QuickBooks Payroll offers new users either a 30-day free trial or 50% off for three months. (Waiving the free trial lets you accept 50% off for three months and vice versa — you can’t choose both options.)

Features

  • Benefits administration.
  • Comprehensive payroll reports.
  • Unlimited payroll for contractors and W-2 employees alike.
  • Workers’ compensation insurance management.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Automatic payroll tax calculation, deduction and remittance.
  • Standout reporting features.
  • Seamless integration with QuickBooks’ accounting solution, QuickBooks Online.
  • Built-in time tracking limited to higher-priced plans only.
  • Additional fee for workers’ comp integration with cheapest plan.
  • Only integrates with QuickBooks Online.

Gusto: Best HR support

Gusto logo
Image: Gusto

Our star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Gusto’s payroll solution offers excellent payroll features that can simplify challenging payroll processing for farm business owners. The software can automatically file your payroll taxes across all 50 U.S. states, can process benefits administrations and integrates with time-tracking software. It also provides unlimited payroll runs and next-day direct deposit.

Gusto’s tax filing covers all federal, state and local payroll taxes. This is done with e-file, e-sign and e-fax technologies, which ensures everything is paperless and trackable. It also automatically prepares tax forms, including Form 943.

Learn more about Gusto’s payroll software by reading our Gusto review.

Features

  • Multiple employee pay options, including direct deposit, paper check, prepaid debit card and Gusto Wallet app access for on-demand payment.
  • Thorough time tracking integrations or native time tracking, depending on the plan.
  • Optional healthcare and retirement plan benefits.
  • Benefits administration and integration at no additional fee.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Robust reporting features.
  • Unlimited payruns.
  • Transparent pricing.
  • No additional fee for benefits integration or end-of-year tax form integration.
  • Limited live support hours with cheapest plan.
  • Healthcare benefits limited to 37 states.

Pricing

Gusto offers multiple payroll plans:

  • Simple: $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.
  • Plus: $80 per month plus $12 per month per person.
  • Premium: Custom.
  • Contractor-only: $35 plus $6 per contractor per month.

Patriot: Easiest setup

The Patriot logo.
Image: Patriot

Our star rating: 4.3 out of 5

Patriot Payroll was designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. Farm owners can leverage Patriot’s great features and lower pricing to manage payroll needs.

As a farm business owner, different types of work on your farm might call for different hourly rates based on the level of difficulty. Patriot takes care of this in your payroll by allowing you to add up to five different pay rates for each hourly employee.

In addition to running unlimited payruns, Patriot prepares your year-end payroll tax paperwork at no additional charge. Patriot is also known for its flexibility as you can end your contract with the platform anytime and choose whether to use the 1099 e-filing feature.

Find out more about Patriot by reading our comprehensive Patriot Payroll review.

Pricing

Patriot offers two pricing plans:

  • Basic: $17 per month and $4 per employee or contractor.
  • Full-service: $37 per month and $4 per employee or contractor.

Features

  • Integration with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.
  • End-of-year tax form preparation and distribution.
  • Employee self-service.
  • Self-service or full-service payroll options.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • There is a free two-day direct deposit.
  • Patriot offers free and easy onboarding and setup.
  • There is no long-term contract, meaning you can quit at any time.
  • The basic plan does not cover tax filing across federal, state and local authorities.
  • The solution isn’t ideal for scaling businesses.

Paychex: Best for payroll compliance

Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Our star rating: 4 out of 5

Paychex is a popular payroll option with multiple plans for many types of businesses. Farm owners can take advantage of Paychex’s automated payroll to calculate, file and pay payroll taxes accurately and effortlessly.

Farm business owners have the option of using Paychex on their mobile device or desktop. They can also enjoy flexibility with Paychex’s multiple payment options, such as direct deposit, same-day ACH and real-time payments.

Learn more about Paychex Flex by reading our Paychex review.

Pricing

Paychex payroll offers three pricing categories, though all have custom pricing:

  • Paychex Flex Essentials: Custom quotes only.
  • Paychex Flex Select: Custom quotes only.
  • Paychex Flex Pro: Custom quotes only.

Features

  • Multiple payment options.
  • Customizable reports.
  • Autopilot payroll run feature.
  • Voice command integration.

Pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Well-reviewed mobile app for on-the-go payroll.
  • HR library access with each plan.
  • Multiple plans for improved scalability.
  • Extra fees for payroll tax filing.
  • Limited transparent pricing.
  • Extra fee for general ledger report exporting.

Methodology

To pick the best payroll software for farms, we prioritized factors we considered crucial to running payroll in the farming industry. Some of the features we picked were the capacity to allow both mobile and desktop use, automated preparation of tax forms peculiar to the agricultural sector, the ability to customize payments to suit on and off seasons, contractor-based payments and the platform’s reputation.

These considerations helped us narrow down our list to the six payroll solutions above and provided enough insight for us to conduct a thorough review of each, highlighting some of their key features, advantages and disadvantages.

Learn more by reading our payroll software review methodology.

How do I choose the best farm payroll software for my business?

In addition to the points we highlighted under each software reviewed above, here are some tips to help you choose the best payroll software for your farm.

Evaluate your business needs

Before choosing a payroll software solution, evaluating your specific business needs is important. Consider factors like the farm size, the number of employees you have and your current payroll management process.

Check the software’s features

After evaluating your business needs, the next thing is to closely examine each software’s features and capabilities vis-à-vis your business needs. If possible, make a payroll processing checklist and compare each feature with how it addresses the checklist. Ensure the software you choose includes key payroll management features like time tracking, tax filing and benefits management. You may also want to consider additional features like mobile apps and integrations with other software.

Consider ease of use

A payroll software might have the best features, but the delivery for end-users might ruin those features in ways such as complex setup, a clustered dashboard and latency issues during use. To get the hang of the platform, you might consider doing a demo or free trial before throwing in your money.

Look at pricing

While it is not ideal to prioritize pricing over quality features or services, budget is a big part of which service you choose. You may consider going for payroll software with flexible pricing plans or check with the vendor to know if you can customize the product to your specific needs — and remember to take a closer look at per-user pricing if you have quite a few employees.

Check customer support

Customer support is essential, especially for farm owners who may find themselves always busy working on the farm during weekdays and weekends. With this in mind, choosing a software solution offering reliable customer support beyond weekdays is vital. Therefore, look for a farm payroll software that provides phone, email or chat support, weekend support, and resources like user guides and FAQs.


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