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David Sparks Ph.d Trucker Shortage
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: January 30, 2018

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According to a blog posted by the Idaho Farm Bureau Potatoes, onions, beets and cattle aren’t finding their way to market as easy these days. There's a truck shortage because of a lack of qualified commercial truck drivers in Idaho and across the nation.

Idaho Farm Bureau President Bryan Searle is a potato producer out of Shelley. He says prices are good but getting his potatoes to market has been a challenge.

"Everything in this country is shipped by trucks. Think about it, all our food, just about everything in Walmart and Amazon. I can't blame the industry for shortages but there is competition for trucks," said Searle.

The number of truck drivers in Idaho is expected to increase 12.9 percent by 2020 according to the Idaho Department of Labor. But the American Trucking Association says there's a still a shortage nationwide and around 96,000 new drivers will need to be hired yearly to keep pace with demand. The median salary for a truck driver in Idaho is over $40,000.

Let’s just look at the agricultural sector alone in Idaho. Here is Laura Johnson, marketing director for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. “Trucks are critical to exports and trucks are very important to bringing all of those products to market.”

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