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A Quick Look @ 2009
And Hint for 2010

By: Eric Spell, president of

Now that 2009 is behind us we can move on, but not without looking back to observe some interesting statistics. While certain areas of the agriculture industry (such as swine, poultry, dairy, and beef) continued to "take it on the chin", other sectors such as grains, seed/biotechnology, agronomy, ag-chemical, ag-finance and produce remained steady.

As we set out in 2010, it's important that we as agriculture professionals continue to remain positive about the career opportunities within our industry. Consider this, in 2009 hosted a total of 31,130 positions-456 more positions than were posted in 2008. This is a fact that can be shared with your friends in and outside of the industry. It's also exciting to know that so far in 2010, we have posted 150 more positions than we did in this same time period in 2009.

One interesting trend and fact in 2009 that is worth mentioning was the amount of activity relative to those seeking employment. Compared to 2008, in 2009 there was a 24% increase in those actively seeking employment by applying to positions listed on So far in 2010, we have seen a 10% increase in applicant activity over the same period in 2009.

Based on these trends and our experience, we thought we'd share some conclusions that job seekers and employers respectively should consider in 2010:

Job seekers:

  • Realize that this is an “employers market”—it may take 60-90 days longer than normal to land the desired job. Employers have a larger pool to select from.
  • Make sure that your resume and cover letter stand out. We suggest that you get input from someone with experience in reviewing resumes and heed to the feedback.
  • If your resume is posted within a database, make sure it’s kept current—a good rule of thumb would be to make updates every 90 days during your search/exploration.


  • Much of the 24% increase in applicant activity comes from professionals seeking employment “back” in the agriculture industry. Do yourself a favor and don’t discount individuals that do not have a recent employment experience within agriculture.
  • Know that there are far more passive job seekers than one might suspect. Passive job seekers are more apt to casually surf company websites or job-boards compared to listing their resume online. Make sure listings are kept current and applicants are responded to in a timely manner.
  • Evaluate your company website—what does your corporate website say about you as an employer? will once again be conducting a full review of jobs posted in 2009 in our upcoming Agribusiness Job Report. This report, to be released in February, will provide information on geographic concentration of jobs and applicants as well as prevalent career types and industry types. For a copy of this report when it is released please email and include ‘2009 Agribusiness Job Report Analysis’ in the subject line.