Unfortunately, the short answer is yes. In fact, in 2020, more than $175 billion of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) came from the agriculture, fishing, and forestry industries. These sectors are responsible for employing more than 2.3 million people. The average age of the agriculture employee is 60. Therefore, it will not be long before the majority of those in the industry retire or are no longer able to work. Agriculture is an integral part of the economy, and this leaves a huge void that must be filled if the industry is to remain strong. Let’s take a look at why fewer employees are entering into agriculture.
Lack of Interest in Labor Intensive Jobs
Many Americans are not interested in the more labor-intensive jobs in agriculture. These most commonly include:
- Working livestock
With a decrease in immigrant workers, producers struggle to find alternative ways to keep up with growing demands.
Student Loan Debt
Students who are completing ag programs typically have a significant amount of student loan debt to repay. This means they are seeking the highest paying jobs possible to pay back the debt as quickly as possible and gain financial freedom. While there are plenty of young grads vying for executive and professional positions, lower-level positions are going unfilled. However, these positions are vital to the success of the agriculture industry.
Sharp Decline in Interest
Several factors contribute to deterring the younger generations from getting involved in the agriculture industry, specifically at the production level.
- High initial investment cost – The cost of machinery, technology, land, employee wages, etc.
- Volatile prices – Commodity prices can fluctuate wildly, and many do not like this wide variance.
- Weather – The weather plays a large part in agriculture. It is unpredictable, leaving producers at its mercy.
- Work-life balance – Agriculture production facilities (especially livestock) are labor-intensive. This can cause an unequal work-life balance during certain times of the year when the workload is more demanding.
Find the Perfect Agricultural Employee
There is no question that fewer employees are entering into agriculture. The reasons above play a large part as to why. However, agriculture is still vital to the heartbeat of this nation. After all, this great industry feeds the world! Morris Bixby understands the importance of agriculture and the unique difficulties you face finding employees. This is why they are dedicated to providing your operation with top-notch ag employees. Contact us today and partner with one of the nation’s leading ag recruitment agencies!