Agribusiness employers recruiting workers for recession-proof industry

With 1 in 5 Michigan workers employed in agribusiness, the industry is the state’s second-largest behind manufacturing. 

The agriculture industry in West Michigan, including farming and food production, accounts for nearly 26,000 jobs and $300 million in labor income. 

“While farms and fields are a big part of agribusiness, it only makes up about half of the jobs throughout the state,” says Joe Thiry, business solutions manager at West Michigan Works! “Agribusiness encompasses every aspect of the food and beverage business, from start to finish, including production and distribution processes.”  

Nearly recession-proof

West Michigan Works! will host an agribusiness job fair on March 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. The virtual job fair will occur online, where job seekers can discuss their skills and qualifications with hiring managers with immediate hiring needs. Participating employers include Herbruck’s, Hearthside Food Solutions, Kellogg’s, Michigan Turkey, Kent Quality Foods, Dykhuis Farms Inc., and Roskam Baking Co. 

Registration is open through Wednesday, March 24.

“If the past year taught us anything, it’s that everyone needs to eat and our local food systems are the most reliable. Even during economic booms and busts, our farms need to be able to produce food, which makes agriculture a nearly recession-proof industry,” says Allison Brink, executive director of Michigan Allied Poultry Industries. “Our family poultry farms, and all agriculture-related businesses, need more young talent interested in all aspects of ag so that we can continue to grow and produce healthy food here in Michigan.”

On Hot Jobs list
Currently, 11 agriculture positions ranging from equipment operators and truck drivers to maintenance supervisors and mechanics are included in the 2021 West Michigan Works! Hot Jobs list, an annual report that showcases the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs.  
To be included on the Hot Jobs lists, occupations must show a regional average growth rate of at least 9% over 10 years, annual openings above industry averages, and median hourly wages at or above $13.75. 

“One of the priority issues for the West Michigan food processing sector has been workforce and talent development,” says Marty Gerencer, executive director of the West Michigan Food Processing Association. “Some companies are deciding not to expand and increase sales due to lack of available workforce and the talent needed to fill livable-wage jobs in their company.” 

Interested job seekers can access more information about the agribusiness industry and register for the virtual job fair at
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