- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2016

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Employers in northern Iowa are trying to fill a bounty of agricultural jobs.

Local economic development officials are touting a series of jobs that are directly and indirectly related to farming. The list includes work in cooperatives, ethanol plants and feed mills, according to the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/1SouWV6 ).

“There are definitely agricultural sector jobs available,” said Winnebago-Worth Betterment Corp. Director Teresa Nicholson.

Several ag-related businesses were ready to take applications last week at a regional career fair at North Iowa Area Community College and hire people.

Egg supplier Sparboe Farms has a hub in New Hampton but offers work opportunities in multiple locations.

“I think there’s always been a need and it’s not an industry that’s going to go away,” said Ashley Grant, who works at the company’s Britt location.

Vern Toohey of North Central Cooperative in Kanawha said it’s tough to find the right employee these days.

“I’m going to have a guy retire in the first part of April and I’m looking at adding a full-time truck driver,” Toohey said. “That’s tough.”

After publishing two ads in separate newspapers, Toohey said he only got two responses for the job, which offers full benefits and a competitive salary.

Low unemployment rates in area counties can make it tough to find employees. The rate in many counties around Mason City ranges between 3 and 5 percent, while the statewide average is 4.5 percent.

Jennifer Andrade, an IowaWorks business marketing specialist, said her group is encouraging more businesses to focus on outreach by visiting local high schools.

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Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/

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