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Agricultural Workers Job Outlook

Employment of agricultural workers is expected to decline by about three percent between 2010 and 2020. However, agricultural workers should have good job prospects overall.

Employment for agricultural workers is expected to decline slightly because of the large concentration of farmworkers and laborers in crop production, which is expected to decrease.

Despite increasing international demand for food and meat, fewer agricultural workers may be needed as agricultural and livestock establishments continue to consolidate.

Technological advancements in farm equipment raises output per farm worker, which could also affect employment for agricultural workers.

In addition, the agriculture industry is expected to face increased competition from foreign countries, particularly Central America and China, because of trade agreements with those regions.

Pending federal legislation also may reduce demand for agricultural workers.

Nursery and greenhouse workers might experience some job growth, if the demand for landscaping plants continues.

Job Prospects

Opportunities should be good because workers regularly leave these jobs, which pay relatively low wages and have relatively high physical demands. This is especially true for agricultural equipment operators and crop, greenhouse, and nursery farmworkers.

Those who work with animals tend to have a more settled lifestyle, because the work does not require them to follow crops for harvest. The average age of agricultural workers is rising, which may lead to further job turnover.

About a quarter of all crop workers are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico. California, Florida, and Oregon have the most nursery workers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition