Farmers are increasingly becoming a core part of the agriculture sector, with many seeing the value of their experience in the field as a direct benefit to their business and to the farm, according to a survey of more than 1,000 ranchers and farmers.
Agriculture and Foodservice Industry Association surveyed more than 800 American ranchers in mid-July and said the industry has become increasingly reliant on farmers.
The association said more than half of its members reported that their farm was experiencing a decline in business.
More:Ranchers and other farm workers are becoming increasingly important to their operations and the quality of their products.
“They’re a huge part of our business.
They’re our family,” said John Cone, president of the Ranchers Association.
Cone said that many ranchers have been working with a new generation of farm workers who are coming from the business world.
Cronus, the former chief executive of a farm-training company, said it was essential to develop a relationship with farmers.
“I think you have to be on a first-name basis with these farmers to be able to connect with them and make an informed decision,” Cronus said.
Cones also said that some of the challenges of the workforce, such as the changing nature of farm work and the growing need for more training, need to be addressed.
The Farm Bureau, which represents the nation’s more than 6 million farmers and ranchers , said the association’s survey was based on interviews with more than 100 ranchers from all 50 states.
The survey, conducted in mid July and released Monday, asked about four key areas of concern in the agriculture workforce.
It found that while the number of full-time employees increased from 27.3 million to 28.3 in the past year, the number working in a variety of jobs, including farmers, ranches, and processors, dropped.
Rancher and farm worker participation increased, with nearly one in five saying they had worked for a farm worker in the last year.
But the survey found that a significant portion of workers were not in a position to take on those roles themselves.
Ranch workers are the least likely to say they are able to fill a specific role for their business.
About half of respondents said they could fill that role for a small company, and more than a third said they were able to take that role on as an independent contractor.
About a quarter said they are not confident about the level of education required for a position in the industry.
About a quarter of respondents reported having less than a high school education.
In general, the survey asked the respondents whether they are satisfied with the quality and training of their job.
Nearly half of the ranchers surveyed said they have little or no confidence in their jobs.
A third of ranchers said they felt that their employer was failing to meet its obligations to their members.
Ranger, ranchernet and other small-scale ranchers also reported difficulty making decisions about which job to take.
“I don’t think I can say I’m happy about the way things are going, but I feel like I can do things differently,” said Jason Sauer, a ranch rancher from Utah who is president of a small-group marketing company.
“It’s a very competitive field.
You’re competing against everyone,” Sauer said.
“You’re competing with people who have a lot more experience.
You have to make decisions.”More: