Staffing shortages continue to be not only a challenge for the poultry industry, but also the greater U.S. agrifood industry.

In a WATT Poultry Chat video, Steve Olson of Steve Olson Consulting says for every 57,900 jobs in the U.S. agriculture industry annually, there are only 35,400 students graduating from two-year and four-year colleges, a 39% deficit.

Olson said there are many ways employers in the poultry industry can reach students and let them know there are employment options for them. He encourages getting involved at the local, state and national level.


Speaking to student groups, hosting facility tours or virtual tours and engagement with student agricultural organizations such as the National FFA Organization and the National Professional Agriculture Students Organization (PAS) are all ways poultry industry employers can reach members of the emerging workforce, Olson said.

Olson also suggests that employers engage with regional community and technical colleges that provide training for ag-related careers.  PAS provides infrastructure support for the local and state PAS chapters – and Olson said the agriculture industry has a need to grow the number of PAS chapters to give students the problem solving, communication and leadership skills needed for a stronger workforce.