Illinois farmer changes approach to employee recruitment

An Illinois farmer has changed up his employee recruitment methods amid the nation’s labor shortage.

Pete Gill of Wyoming, IL tells Brownfield it is getting increasingly difficult to find seasonal help on his grain farm, so he’s started speaking to local high school students enrolled in agriculture and other vocational programs.

“If there are kids who are unsure about whether they are going into a college program, I tell them ‘We have a place for you. We can teach you. A lot of the machinery is fairly easy to run. We can put a good deal of money in your pocket for the fall.”

He says he presents it similar to an internship, where students have the opportunity to try it out before committing to farming as a career.

“Then they can decide if this is something they want to do moving forward or if it is an incentive to further their education.”

Gill says he’s also pitching seasonal job openings to friends who are nearing retirement.  

“I tell them ‘Once you get done with your day job, we would love to have you out on the farm for 5-6 weeks and that’ll get you all of the vacation money you need.”

He says the keys to keeping help on their farm have been flexible scheduling and having a family-first approach.

Gill discusses other issues top of mind as he prepares for the 2023 growing season in this video interview.

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