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Trying to find enough greenhouse vegetable workers? You’re not alone

Jose “Pepe” Calderon, head grower at Local Bounti, said finding people willing to produce greenhouse vegetables has become complicated because crops like tomatoes require skilled workers to perform some production activities.

Like other industries, greenhouse vegetable operators face challenges finding enough skilled workers to produce their crops. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, employers had difficulties finding enough workers, and the coronavirus has only exasperated that challenge.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall employment of agricultural workers will rise 2 percent from 2020 to 2030. That is the slowest average for all occupations. During this 10-year period, the bureau expects about 138,900 openings for agricultural workers each year on average. The majority of these openings will be the result of having to replace workers who have left for different occupations or have exited the labor force.

In 2020 agricultural workers held about 869,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Greenhouse, along with nursery and farm laborers, accounted for most agricultural employment with 526,300 jobs. Half of the workers employed in agriculture were involved in crop production.


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