Older rural population means worsening labor shortage

Rural populations are decreasing, worsening the ag labor shortage.

U.S. census shows that 56 percent of Nebraska’s population now live in urban areas, which leaves fewer people to fill rural jobs.

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association says that one solution could be changes to the H-2A visa program, but producers would rather recruit year round employees to work legally with a visa who can stay for many years.

Census reports also show that more young people are getting involved in agriculture and changing what it means to work as a farmer.

According to the most recent USDA census:

  • 8 percent of farmers were under the age of 35

  • The number of producers in that age bracket grew to 285,000, an 11 percent increase from 2011 to 2017

  • 34 percent of farmers are over the age of 65, a 2 percent decrease from the last census


Rural America’s population is aging faster than the nation’s

Young farmers are dealing with more farm stress

In rural America, census takers relied more on neighbors