An Iowa legislator suggests farmers are the answer to the state’s labor shortage, but an Iowa State University economist has doubts. Senator Thurman Gaskill, a farmer who was once the president of the Corn Growers Association, says with a little training and flexible schedules, farmers could fill many job openings. But Iowa State University economist Daniel Otto says the 1997 “National Census of Agriculture” found 30 percent of farmers were working off the farm already. He says the trend has been increasing steadily over time.Otto says farmers will not be able to fill all the open spots in Iowa business and industry.
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