A new study says the U.S. pork industry needs access to more foreign-born labor to remain sustainable. The study, authored by Iowa State University economists, was recently updated to reflect the current state of the labor market. The National Pork Producers Council says the study underscores the urgent need for agriculture labor reform. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “The U.S. pork industry has a critical labor shortage that needs to be urgently addressed.” According to the study, from 2001-2020, employment in the U.S. pork industry grew by an annual rate of 1.5 percent, four times faster than employment growth in all U.S. industries. Despite expanded wages and jobs, the U.S. pork industry faces a significant domestic labor shortage due to a dwindling and aging rural labor population where hog farms and harvest facilities are located. From 2014-2019, the rural labor force shrank in five of the eight top pork-producing states, according to the study.
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