In recent months, results from several different surveys have been released showing farming as one of the least appealing jobs in America. As someone who has lived on a farm all of her life and loved every moment of it, I was intrigued to look at what was behind these reports.
The most recent survey was by CareerCast where dairy farming appeared at #199 of 200, making it the second worst job in America, just before being a lumberjack. I’d take dairy farming any day over some other jobs higher on the list such as garbage collector at #160 or dishwasher at #193. However, when you look at the categories that were assessed which included income, work environment, stress, physical demands and hiring outlooks, it’s not surprising that dairy farming appeared where it did.
There’s no doubt that dairy farming (or regular farming, for that matter, which appeared at #179) is a tough job. No, the income isn’t high. Yes, it’s a dirty environment that can be stressful at times and requires a lot of physical activity. But talk to any farmer and he/she will tell you all of the benefits of the job and why he/she loves what they do.
My husband loves to tell me that he’s “living the dream.” Why does he enjoy it? He likes being around animals, working with his hands and seeing the fruits of his labor pay off by being able to provide consumers with a safe, wholesome product. Of course, there are bad days when there is a sick cow to tend to, a broken silo unloader that won’t run or a sporadic rain shower that appears out of nowhere when hay is on the ground. No job is perfect, and there are positives and negatives to everything.
Still, there should be a job ranking survey that includes some of the non-quantitative categories like job satisfaction and fulfillment. My guess is that dairy farming might appear a lot higher on the list if items like these were taken into consideration. Farmers truly enjoy what they do and have one of the most important jobs of any on the list. After all, they provide us with food for nourishment.
Taking all of this into consideration, it’s not surprising that the general public’s attitude towards careers in agriculture is less than stellar. Farming and agriculture has gotten a bad rap for years. Parents of high schoolers are much more likely to push their child towards a career as a software engineer than a job in the agricultural industry. Yet, there are many careers in agriculture to satisfy a wide range of interests, from science and technology to business and communications.
No matter where you are or what you do, you can’t deny the impact that farmers have had in your life. Farming and careers in the agricultural industry offer tremendous opportunity for individuals that want fulfillment from a career, knowing that they are an essential part of our economy and the wellbeing of others.