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Dirty jobs list does a disservice to Ag

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

Finding good employees can be a challenge for many businesses. But according to The Fiscal Times, “dirty jobs” are the most difficult to fill. Included in their list, of “10 Dirty jobs that no one wants” are working on dairy farms and other ag-related operations. The jobs are ones that The Fiscal Times describes as “high-stress, uncomfortable, dangerous, or just plain icky, that regardless of the recession, you have to be pretty desperate to sign up for.”

The U.S. on-line newspaper goes so far to describe their arbitrary list as “hideous” jobs. A label most dairy farmers, and many others included on the list, would strongly contest.

The list appears to have been derived from jobs that are difficult to fill in the U.S. yet the reasons cited are largely speculative.

The Fiscal Times applies the “icky” factor to dairy farm worker, diaper service worker, and septic tank/sewer pipe servicer. The implication is that the dirty business of handling and working around manure (human and animal) keeps people from applying. Low pay, uncomfortable working environments such as weather, demanding hours, or long apprenticeships are also cited as reasons why these jobs are hard to fill.

The dangerous category which is shared by highrise window washers and oil and gas field workers, includes meat plant workers and pest control specialists.  Also considered “icky”, the latter two are said to be difficult to fill because of a lack of qualified personnel and low pay which leads to a high employee turn-over.

While this seemingly arbitrary list is U.S.-based it does a disservice to these jobs everywhere. By turning people off from considering work in agriculture and food production we all pay the price. Sadly too, this type of rating system can never account for all of the positives that can come along with a hard job.  At the same time, perhaps these kinds of negative portrayals also remind us of the challenges and importance of those who serve the rest of us; and increase the appreciation of those who help to feed us.

Until the Next Blog



Posted by OFAC on September 5th, 2011 :: Filed under Dairy cattle,Farm life,Farm Safety,Meat/slaughter plants
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One Response to “Dirty jobs list does a disservice to Ag”

  1. Jan
    September 8th, 2011

    copy and past this in to address bar.

    Mike Rowe does his part in sticking up for the “dirty jobs”

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