The agriculture sector faces a serious labor shortage. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture predicts that 75,000 agriculture and food positions in the state will go unfilled by 2027 – a substantial share considering that today these fields employ an estimated 280,500 people.
The labor shortfall reflects larger economic forces that keep young people and outsiders from becoming farmers. And now, as the farming population continues to age, more land will change hands, and with it, the power to shape the state’s physical and social landscape.
More than 99% of farm producers in Pennsylvania are white, but groups in Pittsburgh are seeking to diversify the sector. Their work could help to avert an impending shortage of agricultural workers.
Pennsylvania farmers are getting older, and state officials say there aren’t enough people to take over what is often grueling work that doesn’t make much money. But changing the nature of the job could help to raise a new generation of agricultural workers.
As more farmers in Pennsylvania near retirement, the state is bracing for a shortage of agricultural workers. But for people who want to start their own farms, there’s no guarantee they’ll find land. It's a top barrier for newcomers in the industry.
With more than half of people who run Pennsylvania’s farms aged 55 or older, agricultural communities in the state face an uncertain future. The industry wants to protect farmland and is bracing for a labor shortage.