He doesn’t hesitate to list the top five issues: labor, labor, labor, labor and labor. It’s only partly a joke. There are labor concerns, Deardorff said, at the field level, entry-level management level, middle management level — even at the executive level.
It’s a constant challenge, he said, for Deardorff Family Farms and other growers to find qualified workers at all levels — ironic, Deardorff said, considering the high unemployment rates. Finding, keeping and nurturing industry talent will be a major priority for the produce industry in coming years, he said.
Fortunately for Deardorff and his company, they’ve been fortunate when it’s come to finding good people. In fact, Deardorff said the thing he’s proudest of at this point in his career is his staff.
“We’re a midtier, medium-sized business that doesn’t have a brand that attracts people, but we’ve been able to assemble a team of people who are fun, energetic, passionate and good at what they do.”