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Agricultural shortages and employment
Dr. Victor Martin

The Drought Monitor shows things essentially unchanged from the previous week out west but the area of drought and abnormally dry has shrunk in South Central Kansas. The recent snows out west coupled with the possibility of rain this weekend could help ease things a bit more. The six to ten day outlook (Feb. 26 to March 1) has below normal precipitation and below normal temperatures. Looking out eight to 14 days again indicates above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures. The 30 day outlook is for equal below normal temperatures and a coin flip for precipitation with the 90 day outlook basically near normal for both. Today, let’s focus on a growing problem in agricultural and related industries and what can be done. This is especially geared for those who have no real farm or agriculture background and are looking for a career with excellent opportunities regarding pay, benefits, and for advancement.

• First, we are in desperate need for more people to work in production agriculture and livestock production. There is a chronic shortage that can’t be filled by “farm kids” for the simple fact is there aren’t nearly enough. From owning and operating crop and livestock operations to working on them the nation needs tens of thousands of people, men and women, now.

• All the ancillary ag related businesses from elevators to various crop and livestock services from animal health to commercial applicators, the industry is in dire need of individuals in the industry.

• Other industries such as welding, weights and measures to trucking and energy resources need workers now and are willing to compensate good workers properly. As an example, it is projected the nation will be short 400,000 welders over the next few years. Qualified CDL holders are also in short supply and the training to obtain a CDL are increasing in rigor shortly.

• All of these industries understand that they have to reach out to nontraditional potential employees. They need people who are responsible, willing to learn/obtain the necessary training for the respective industries, and possess the soft skills to make them an excellent employee.

• Those of you reading this who desire a better job/career or know of somebody who does need to think about these careers. The key is a desire to learn and work hard towards a career. Look at where you are now and where you want to be in five or ten years. Can your current job arc take you there? Or maybe you want a change or a more stable position with benefits?  

• Barton Community College’s WTED, Workforce Training and Economic Development Department, is hosting the second annual Education and Employment Expo on Tuesday, March 3rd from 3 until 7 p.m. in the CNH lab located at the northeast corner of the campus. Employers will be there in these industries and early childhood and they are looking for employees. There is an opportunity to interview right them for some of them. Barton certificate and two-year degree programs will be there and explain what an individual takes for certificates or degrees in various programs. Other booths will provide information on possible financial assistance. Finally there are door prizes. For more information regarding attending and looking for a job or as an employer looking for employees contact Maggie Tracy at (620) 786-1120 or

Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.