The global coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on what’s truly important to our nation. Blockbuster movies are on hold, and athletes are sidelined. But farmers are working harder than ever.
In fact, on March 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor announced a joint effort to recruit workers to help fill as many as 20,000 critical job vacancies in the ag sector to maintain supply chains amids the national and global responses to the crisis, up to and including expediting H-2A and H-2B visas for qualified workers from outside the country.
Of course, in the midst of our current circumstances, a great number of people have lost their jobs, either permanently or temporarily. These fluctuations may have some considering a change in career, or at least some extra work to keep the paychecks coming in during the days of social distancing and sheltering in place.
Not every job in agriculture entails plowing a field or tending to herds. Those are among the more plentiful jobs, but those with any training can move into an agricultural position.
- Food scientists study the foods we eat, and research methods of maintaining food safety, while maximizing both flavor and shelf life.
- Computer programers are developing software to identify potentially ill plants in a grove, helping to detect citrus greening much earlier than with manual inspections.
- Agribusiness management and marketing positions exist to handle administration and promotion of agribusinesses, making sure the day-to-day operations continue and the product is able to get out to consumers.
- Processing and retailing jobs are the “middle men” in the supply chain, ensuring that our food makes it from the grower to the grocery story in the form consumers are used to.
- Agriculture production jobs are the jobs we think of — planting, harvesting, tending to field and flock alike.
Ag work may not be the most glamorous, and certainly not the easiest. Still, as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”