9/20/2016 2:23:55 PM
Harvest activities have begun across the state, following a wet end to the summer.
Although 2016 harvest data isn’t available yet, estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Southwest Minnesota was the largest corn producing district in Minnesota in 2015, with more than 3.6 million acres harvested across the 23-county region. The region was also a major producer of soybeans, among many other crops and livestock areas (Maps 1 and 2).
This harvest activity has created on-going demand for farmworkers, equipment operators, truck drivers, and mechanics across the region. The most recent Occupations in Demand list for Southwest Minnesota includes several farming occupations among those in highest need.
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers were the number one occupation in demand in Southwest Minnesota, in part due to the region’s strong agriculture economy. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists and farm equipment and service technicians were also in top demand. Farmworkers and laborers are also showing high demand in some parts of the region, especially South Central Minnesota; while farmers and other agricultural managers showed steady demand.
While most of these occupations can be learned on the job, the complexity of the machinery used in agriculture is increasing the value of industry-specific training or post-secondary education and may lead to higher wages. Jobs like farmworkers and laborers, which have the lowest education and training requirements, also have the lowest wages, while jobs that require some specialized skills and training, such as truck drivers, farm equipment mechanics, and diesel engine specialists, earn higher wages (Table 1).