A huge increase in soybean crush capacity is just over the horizon. A glance at our Grain Facility Construction Roundup cover story clearly illustrates this with new soybean crushing plants making up more than 50% of the projects listed.
Spurred by the “carbon wave,” demand for soybean oil — the most common feedstock for renewable biodiesel production — has steadily increased over the last several years. Between 2009 and 2019, biodiesel was the largest growing demand sector for soybean oil in the U.S. with a 300% increase, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
‘Now Hiring’ for surge of new soybean facilities
With the rise in new and newly expanded soybean crush plants also comes an enormous need for labor. The United States Energy & Employment Report 2022 found that in 2021, the clean fuels industry added jobs at a rate of 6.7% and it projected job growth of 5.8% in manufacturing for 2022.
Each of the newly constructed plants mentioned in our Construction Roundup will have an average of 55 positions to fill, while expanding facilities will require 10 or more new hires each. That’s a lot of job openings for a sector already struggling with labor shortages!
Wanted: Creative hiring practices
With the great resignation resulting from COVID-19, competition for labor in ag processing facilities will continue to present challenges. If you’re like many other companies struggling to hire, now is the time to start exploring more creative recruitment practices like paying for social media posts, offering sign-on bonuses and considering flexible schedules to appeal to today’s workforce.
You may find success in promoting sustainability in the posted job description. Young job seekers increasingly report a desire for careers connected to solving global challenges like climate change.
The biodiesel and renewable diesel industry holds vast economic opportunities, supporting 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. With promotion and effective communication of these rapidly expanding and exciting prospects, leaders can help attract people where their talents are needed in grain handling and processing.