Labor Shortage

Across the business landscape there is a shortage of labor, and this shortage is especially evident in the agriculture sector. In this part of the world, the swine industry is in desperate need for quality, responsible, and industrious labor. This industry isn’t always the most glamorous; however, there are plenty of opportunities to make a living or simply put gas in the car and go for supper.

Agriculture today is a large industry with a variety of jobs that require different skill levels. Today, I would like to focus on the day-to-day activities regarding laboring hog barns. Mindi Hulshof is our Contract Labor Coordinator at Farmer Coop Society, and her responsibilities include sourcing, developing, and maintaining labor for our customers’ hog sites. We also have a Swine Management Team that works in conjunction with Mindi to procure and develop labor. Opportunities abound to labor sites of various sizes with typical contracts landing in the $5–8 per space per year range, depending on experience and the extent of additional labor provided (snow removal, mowing, power washing, etc.). With laboring sites myself for the last 12 years, I can attest to the benefit of being able to add to the bottom line before and after my day job. As with any other position, punctuality, work ethic, and the ability to learn quickly will enable you to advance at a more rapid pace.


In addition to laboring facilities, there are many barn owners looking for part-time labor to help with vaccinating, loading, and other jobs that require more hands. A solid vaccinating crew will command 10–15 cents per shot, taking home $50–80 per hour. For someone who is willing to work hard, loading pigs can take in $25–40 per load. Experience and ability determine the amount owners are willing to pay. Working with pigs isn’t for everyone, but with minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, your high school or college age sons and daughters can do well for themselves with hours that are flexible with most schedules. When sports and other responsibilities take up the majority of their time during the day, they can still work early in the morning or in the evening. There are also individuals who want the ability to make and control their own schedule by laboring multiple sites as a full-time job. This is an option for a self-motivated person who enjoys working with pigs.


The flexibility that laboring a barn or helping part-time provides is a huge bonus to someone supplementing their income or a student looking to make some money. These jobs build work ethic and character necessary in all walks of life. Having courteous and responsible employees in our industry makes a world of difference. If you or someone you know is interested in an opportunity to earn some extra money or work with our swine team, please give us a call!

Written by: Brady Goslinga