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It’s an ag job seeker’s market

There's been a surge in students searching for internship and work experiences.

The ag industry’s hiring, but 2018 U.S. unemployment rates were the lowest they’ve been in a decade. That makes a tight labor market for employers searching for the right staff. experienced an increase in the number of job openings posted on the site; there were nearly 70,000 job openings posted on in 2018.’s latest Job Outlook Report was just released with a review of job and candidate trends from 2018 and an outlook for 2019.

Job Trends

In the United States, employers posted the largest number of jobs in the fall season with a peak in October. Midwestern jobs made up more than half of jobs posted in the United States, although California and Texas were also among the top ten job posting states. Illinois was the top job posting state, followed by Iowa.

Job listings on are categorized into one of 25 different industry types. Employers posted the highest number of positions in the “Chemical, Pesticide and Fertilizer” industry type, while “Equipment, Manufacturing & Technical” was second, followed by “Commodities & Trading.” 

Employers also categorize job postings in one of 42 different career types. The “Operations” career type was the leading category in 2018, followed by “Sales/Retail” and then, “Farm & Ranch Operations/Herdsperson/On Farm” careers.

Candidate Trends

While candidates continue to search for management, sales and on-farm positions thru, we’ve seen a surge in usage by students searching for internship and work experiences. When we combine keyword searches for “intern” and “internship,” this category takes over the most-searched keyword on the site. Candidates may also search by location, industry, career type and more, along with saving jobs and setting up job alerts via text or email.  

Despite the job seekers’ market, candidates continue their outreach to agricultural employers with the increasing use of new tools available to them through Candidates added more than 6,000 new resumes to the database in 2018, an increase of 11% over 2017. More than 4,000 resume database candidates list “Farm & Ranch Operations/Herdsperson/On-Farm” as their preferential career type.

When we examined applicants’ education level, we found that 22% had a high school diploma, 13% had an associate’s or skilled trade certificate, and 49% had a bachelor’s degree. The majority of those with post-secondary education had an ag-based degree (63%). Most applicants (66%) were currently or most recently in an ag occupation, while 13% were students. Those in non-ag occupations were typically in roles with transferable skills applicable to agriculture, such as skilled trades, service or management. Illustrating the diverse array of applicants with experience, 35% had 10-plus years of experience. 

Find out more by downloading your free copy of the full 2018 U.S. Agribusiness Job Report here. A separate Canadian edition is also available. For more information contact

 The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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