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How ag will manage labor through COVID-19

Survey shows how U.S. agricultural employers are responding to the pandemic.

Farm labor shortages will likely get worse due to COVID-19. We’re all anticipating workplace and staff adjustments in 2020 due to the pandemic. We’re seeing concerns ranging from where to find workers, to will they stay healthy, all while managing supply and distribution complications.

Over the past two weeks surveyed employees and candidates to discover how Coronavirus affected their employment, and surveyed employers about how they’re preparing their workforce for the situation. Here’s how U.S. agricultural employers are responding to the pandemic.

Working remotely

Although 84% of ag employers said some or all employees could work remotely, production and manufacturers were significantly less likely than agribusinesses to say all employees could work remotely. As expected, operations (manufacturing/warehouse) positions were least likely to work from home. Production (barn/field) positions were also unlikely to allow remote work. It’s obvious that virtual meetings and work-from-home opportunities aren’t realistic for most agriculture production operations.


How will they manage staff and production? The most common way all ag employers are planning to provide coverage for sick or absent employees is to ask ‘well’ employees to cover. Thirty-five percent of employers said they were planning work rotation schedules to reduce exposure among staff with on and off schedules.

Recruitment, hiring continues

More than 80% of ag employers said they were continuing recruitment and hiring despite the pandemic. The majority of employers are keeping their recruitment activities the same as they planned.

Free job postings

During this challenging time, knows agriculture must keep growing. is giving their support by offering FREE temporary job postings until July 31, 2020. Farming operations just need to enter the code TEMPJOBSc19 at continues to survey agricultural employees, candidates and employers on the ever-changing nature of COVID-19’s impact on agriculture. Expect additional information from with updated data as it becomes available throughout the pandemic. For more details on what employees and candidates are saying about the Coronavirus impact on their employment, view our Agricultural Employment’s COVID-19 Response article, or email

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