AgCareers.com is on the Rise

With AgCareers.com, it’s a Job Seeker Market

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

A great resource for finding agricultural jobs is AgCareers.com. Jessica Bartow is the new talent solution specialist with AgCareers.com, and recruiting and retaining employees in the agricultural field is what they are focused on.

“The ag industry is incredible because you give food to the world we provide for their needs, and so to be able to help employers that are doing that is quite an honor,” Bartow said.

AgCareers.com
Jessica Bartow

Bartow also works closely with the universities to help get students internships. They provide a lot of internships through their website.

AgCareers.com helps provide employment to job seekers along with helping employers as they are looking for talent.

“It is a job seekers market right now, so our employers are looking for candidates that have experience in the ag industry that want to go into the ag industry,” Bartow said.

Information is available for all types of job opportunities on AgCareers.com. There are a lot of resources to help place interested job seekers considering agriculture as a career.

Job seekers and employers are encouraged to go to AgCareers.com to look at the resources available.

“We can search for whatever job it is and whatever field location. It is an awesome resource. I definitely recommend it,” Bartow said.

Agriculture Grads in High Demand

Many Grads are Interested in Day-to-Day Farming

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

There is a big demand for college graduates with agricultural degrees, especially in plant and crop sciences. California Ag Today spoke with Shannon Douglass, first vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation and a recruiter for CalAJobs, about the need for agriculture grads.

CalAgJobs
Shannon Douglass, First VP of California Farm Bureau Federation and recruiter for CalAgJobs

“I often encourage people to minor in crop science,” Douglas said.

If you are a business major, having some background in crop science is beneficial. As a farm manager, understanding the crops are going to be vital.

“I encouraged animal science majors to think about getting a minor in crop science to understand what we are feeding those animals that they are studying, because that is a huge piece of California agriculture,” Douglass said.

Everything from agronomy and soil science to irrigation and pest control management are vital. Many college graduates are interested in being involved in the day-to-day farming operation.

“I talked to a class at Chico State a couple of weeks ago, and there are a lot of young people that they really want to be in the farming,” Douglass said.

Many students do not want to be in sales, but a large majority would like to be the farmers themselves.

“I really encourage them that you can absolutely be a day-to-day farmer and not necessarily a farm owner,” she said.

Douglass is also a recruiter for CalAgJobs.

“It is a private company, and we work with internships as a grant-funded project. In fact, it is completely free for both the employer and the student to use,” she explained.

These internships are a tool in helping to get those that are in college to look at these ag careers, particularly in specialty crops and crop science overall. Internships can be a wonderful gateway into long-term careers.

“The second part of our website is a classified type job-posting service,” she said.

CalAgJobs uses social media and targeting along with a weekly email.

“Another part of our business is the recruitment services that we offer. We work with employers who need more help on some of these really tough to fill jobs,” Douglass said.

CalAgJobs does their best to help fill those employment opportunities to help others run their farms.

For more information on internships or job postings, visit CalAgJobs.com.

Seek out CalAgJobs for Opportunities

Job Possibilities in Agriculture

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Shannon Douglass, co-owner and recruiter for CalAgJobs. She spoke about the job possibilities in agriculture and the vast amount of positions.

“There are a ton of great jobs in agriculture, especially for people coming right out of school or even those high school students right now that are thinking about what their career options might be after college,” Douglass said.

CalAgJobs wants all to consider the opportunities available in agriculture. Technology is now a huge part of agriculture that is being implemented all over.

“There is a lot of opportunity for people who want to work in food production, that in some ways, that aren’t necessarily in the field. There are a whole lot of people supporting the farmer these days,” Douglass explained. “Not all high paying agricultural jobs require a college degree. It all depends on the goal of the company and the variety of jobs. There is a lot of work in the technical trade field, from welding to any type of mechanist experience. There is also opportunities for those who have production experience but do not have a degree.”

Although you do not need one, having a degree is beneficial for a variety of positions.

“There is a lot of opportunities to people that do have a degree somewhere related to crop or soil science or agronomy,” Douglass said. “All across the spectrum, we have opportunities for people in agriculture with great long-term career opportunities.”

For more information: https://calagjobs.com/

My Job Depends on Ag Continues Growth

Decal Sales Go to Nonprofit

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently spoke with Steve Malanca, one of the founders of My Job Depends On Ag Facebook group, which he started alongside Erik Wilson. The page was inspired by an economic number that stated that California Agriculture is only two percent of the gross domestic product of the state.

Not want to sit still on what looked like very small contribution to the overall California economy, Malanca, a former equipment salesman, crafted a decal in 2013 with the message My Job Depends on Ag. The idea was to spread the word that agriculture contributes to millions of jobs in the state, including restaurants, banks, clothing stores, supply stores, almond candy manufacturers, tortilla factories and virtually every business in smaller farm communities.

The Facebook page was launched in April 2015.

“It continues to grow,” Malanca said. “It grows in increments of a thousand members every four to six weeks, and we’re reaching 78,000 members in the three-year existence, and the message continues to grow.”

“Our California decal sales are now more than 60,000, and for the third year in a row, through the Central Valley Community Foundation, our profits are going to add more than $20,000 to a nonprofit account in order to continue giving out scholarships for kids.

Malanca’s job definitely depends on ag. He now works at West Valley Almond Huller in Mendota. And he told us about research trying to find a way to use of excess almond hulls. It’s called bio-solarization, which targets the use of almond hulls in row crop applications.

“The idea is to add 10 to 12 tons of hulls per acre on row crop beds, which come in various widths of 60 inches to 80 inches,” Malanca said. “By incorporating a huge amount of hulls over the top couple of inches of that soil, they can then cover it with plastic and create an environment that’s conducive to fumigant application, which kills soil pathogens. The idea is to substitute a chemical fumigant for hulls and accomplish the same goal.”

 

Farm employment: Drought impact adds uncertainty to hiring outlook

Source: Ag Alert

Even though reduced crop production caused by water shortages may reduce on-farm employment in California, farmers and farm labor contractors say they expect continued trouble in filling agricultural jobs this spring and summer.

“The drought is still ongoing, which means that there will be a lot of land left uncultivated,” said Bryan Little, California Farm Bureau Federation director of employment policy and chief operating officer of the Farm Employers Labor Service. “This will probably soften the blow of the shortage of labor some, but everything I am hearing is that the labor market is still pretty tight.”

Little said most of the farmers with whom he speaks “are finding that labor is still pretty scarce.” He said farmers are expressing increasing interest in the federal H-2A guestworker program—despite its signficant drawbacks—while “relying more and more” on farm labor contractors.

San Luis Obispo County farmer Carlos Castañeda, who is also a farm labor contractor, said the growing season kicked off in his region earlier than usual. So far, he said, he has been able to hire the people he needs but, he added, there isn’t an abundance of workers.

“My growers are cutting plantings back tremendously,” Castañeda said. “Unfortunately, the shortage of water is helping the shortage of labor—but as soon as the water issues are solved, the labor one is going to go into warp speed.”

About a month from now, Castañeda said, he expects several commodities will be ready for harvest at the same time, which will increase the need for on-farm employees and reduce the number of workers available.

Michael Frantz, co-owner of Frantz Wholesale Nursery in Hickman, said he remains concerned about finding enough people to do the highly technical work at his horticultural company, which specializes in landscape trees, shrubs and drought-tolerant plants.

“We have full-time employment that requires learning the skills of a trade that are taught on-farm. There are a lot of technical skills, whether it is grafting or budding and training of trees to be grown to retail-grade specifications, that take years to master,” Frantz said. “For a nursery to grow consistent quality product, we need a workforce that looks at our nursery and our company as a career choice. Our best employees have been here 10 to 30 years.”

Frantz said he has had problems hiring skilled workers for the past several years. In 2013, his nursery supplemented its own hiring with the use of farm labor contractors. Last year, he said, was “the first year that we were unable to fill all of the positions.”

Frantz said his business printed fliers describing the company, its pay rates, benefits and other amenities.

“For the first time, we felt we had to sell ourselves to the community as opposed to expecting people to show up looking for work,” Frantz said. “We set up card tables at the employment office and had human resources people there handing out fliers. That outreach had minimal results.”

As a result, he said he is very concerned about locating reliable workers for this season, adding that many other nurseries share the same concern.

“This year, we are running ads on Spanish radio. We have ramped up our hiring efforts and already, it is early, but it seems that 2015 is going to be more difficult than last year,” Frantz said. “The lack of a dependable ag workforce is preventing us from adding additional jobs and growing our family businesses like we would like to be able to do.”

Earl Hall, owner of Hall Management Corp., a farm labor contractor headquartered in Fresno, said he is aware that agriculture faces a shortage of available employees, but says he has avoided shortages by being “real careful” not to expand unless conditions warrant.

“You have to be in this industry for a long time like I’ve been so that you know the trends and what is happening,” said Hall, whose company reaches 50 years in business this year.

Castañeda said more growers are opting to use the federal H-2A program to hire immigrant employees, which he called an “expensive and absolutely bureaucratic nightmare, but it is the only tool available.”

Little said use of the H-2A program among California farmers and ranchers remains relatively slight because of a variety of problems with the program, including its lack of the flexibility agricultural employers need to hire people on a timely basis.

Another factor affecting the availability of potential on-farm employees is reduced migration by Mexicans to the U.S., according to research conducted by Edward Taylor, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis, and doctoral student Diane Elise Charlton. Their research found fewer potential farm employees migrating to California due to growth in Mexico’s non-farm economy, falling birth rates and an increase in rural education.

Because of this trend, Little said, Farm Bureau and other groups have advocated for a permanent solution to agricultural labor shortages through immigration reform.

Without legislation to address the country’s current labor situation, bills such as the Legal Workforce Act would harm farms and ranches, Little said. The bill, which would require agricultural employers to use the E-Verify system to prove employment eligibility for agricultural workers, was approved last week by the House Judiciary Committee.

“We are absolutely, adamantly opposed to moving forward with mandatory E-Verify until we know we are going to get a workable guestworker program,” Little said.

California agriculture relies on about 400,000 employees during peak season. Some experts estimate that 70 percent or more of hired farm employees responsible for U.S. fruit, vegetable, dairy, livestock, nursery and other production are not authorized to work in the United States, despite presenting apparently legitimate work documents, Little added.