Shortage of Farm Workers Threatens to Harm Canada’s Economy

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Farmscape for November 7, 2018

Full Interview 13:05 Listen

The Human Resources and Training Coordinator with Manitoba Pork says the growing lack of available farm workers threatens to take a huge bite out of Canada’s economy. Employers in the livestock production and processing sectors are increasingly challenged in terms of recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of workers to maintain the smooth and efficient operation of their businesses. Janice Goldsborough, the Human Resources and Training Coordinator with Manitoba Pork, says the demographics of agriculture are changing.

Clip-Janice Goldsborough-Manitoba Pork:
We’re actually seeing more women now taking over farms. Before, the role of women was typically helping take machinery out to the fields, they would bring meals out etcetera but now the women are taking a more active role.
You might be driving down the highway and see women in the combines or on the tractors. We’re definitely seeing more women. We’re seeing more educated people. The universities are a telling sign of that. More young people are going to school, whether it’s to take agriculture diploma or food sciences degree in some area. But the average age of our farmers in increasing. Now the average age is over 45. We’re seeing a large population that are over 60 and they’re going to be looking at retiring soon so we’re seeing less available workers. We’re seeing that it’s harder to find people to work on the farms. Definitely local people, we’re getting a bigger shortage. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council identified that in 2014 there was over 26 thousand agriculture related positions that went unfilled and they’re figuring that by the year 2025 that could be approaching 114 thousand jobs. That’s a big big loss to our economy for sure.

Goldsborough says today employers have to expand their recruitment beyond just the province to across Canada and a big source of workers is coming from international.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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