Dairy listed in 'dirty jobs' no one wants

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National unemployment figures may be stuck at more than 9 percent, but that doesn’t mean employers have 14 million prospective workers beating down their doors. In fact, finding good employees remains a challenge, especially on dairies and other ag-related operations where “dirty jobs” are often difficult to fill.

These are the jobs 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. “ Of course, there’s a list of these “hideous” jobs, with ag earning a top spot.

The publication recently ranked dairy farm hand right up there with head lice technician as employment opportunities few U.S. workers seem to want, noting that about 41 percent of dairy workers are foreign-born. (Read the full article.) 

Other jobs on the list include:

  • Window washer
  • Diaper service worker
  • High-rise iron worker
  • Septic tank/Sewer pipe servicer
  • Oil and gas industry roustabout
  • Meter reader
  • Animal slaughterer

But don’t despair. According to the article, software and natural-resource-extraction companies are among those still trying to hire because they can’t find enough people with the right skills, either.

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us  |  August, 26, 2011 at 06:19 AM

A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated. You can get degree so fast from your local colleges or search for "High Speed Universities" article online'

Idaho  |  August, 26, 2011 at 05:43 PM

is that why the MBA elite on Wall Street and in government almost destroyed the economy and continue to spend us into the poor house? Education without intelligence is a very expensive proposition.

Dr. Bob Milligan    
St. Paul, MN  |  August, 26, 2011 at 09:31 AM

I have been on many farms and in many milking parlors. The jobs at many of those fit the description in the article; however, the jobs at other farms do not fit the awful descriptions in the article. On these farms, the owners and managers have worked very hard to create a physical and cultural situation that creates great job satisfaction and attracts workers with the skills to succeed in these positions. It continues to amaze me that we in agriculture are extremely proud of our farms but are willing to accept that jobs here are awful jobs. Instead of almost wearing the "awful job" label as a badge of honor, why aren’t we working hard to create job environments that attract qualified applicants to our jobs.

texas  |  August, 26, 2011 at 11:33 AM

the jobs are only as dirty as you make them

Indiana  |  August, 26, 2011 at 01:17 PM

I have worked at different dairy farms over the past 25 years. I was always treated respectfully by the owners and the cattle. I do not feel it is as dirty as people say. I absolutely love working on dairies. I recently had to leave a wonderful farmfamily to aquire a job with insurance for my family. That is a big part of the problem with agriculture jobs, there are usually no benefits offered. I daydream about milking cows and keeping their individual records. It shocks me that most of the general public has forgotten where their food comes from. No farms No food.

Philip Lewis    
Salem, NY  |  August, 26, 2011 at 04:08 PM

Part of the "blame perception" can certainly be attributed to the industry. The dairy industry does virtually zero to promote itself as being a viable career, a decent place to work ... and, many farms really are "icky" ... and, it's not necessary to have a negative bias. Demand for the product would be enhanced if the farms were more presentable and jobs were made more appealing. It can be done. It requires a great deal of work and effort to make some workplaces desirable ... and, it's worth it. As an aside, I visited a dairy farm yesterday with my wife ... unannounced ... never did see a human on the premises. It was a rural free-stall. Cows were rather dirty, the parlor didn't look particularly "tasty", there was junk strewn all over the property ... abandoned pickups and various abandoned machinery. This place didn't really look "destitute" ... new round baler, two new mixer wagons ... some expensive tractor trailers ... just very disorganized and haphazard. Buildings needed paint ... looked like a good place to sustain a "work related injury". It would be laughable ... but, it's sad. This place had millions of dollars invested in livestock, machinery, buildings ... and, who would actually WANT to work there? I wouldn't. Does that farm employ proud, motivated people? No way. What's the answer? Management expertise, good sense, talent ... all appeared to be missing at "nameless farm" located in the "north woods". I suspect that many of us have witnessed these places. I'm not a dairy farmer ... and, I understand how these places develop ... but, if labor is an issue and farmers wish to solve the "problem" ... try making your farm a clean, safe and professional place to work. People will apply for jobs. It's not the industry ... it's the management.

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