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Canadian agriculture needs a labour strategy, says FCC

Canadian agriculture needs a labour strategy, says FCC

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) chief agriculture economist is advocating that agricultural stakeholders need to focus on a labour strategy.

Jean Philippe Gervais, FCC’s chief agricultural economist says that labour is a vital asset on the farm, noting that agribusinesses need a comprehensive employee recruitment and retention plan for workers. Gervais expresses concern over key trends such as an ageing population and urbanization as having an impact on the availability of finding good skilled farm labour. The demand for farm labour is growing as Canadian agriculture production expands. According to Statistics Canada, wages for agriculture workers increased by 22% during the past five years. Despite this, the agriculture sector continues to lag behind other primary based industries, such as oil, gas and mining, which typically offer higher wages.

Lyndon Carlson, FCC’s vice-president, said that the agriculture community should speak positively about the industry and talk about the opportunities available. Carlson encourages producers and agribusinesses to participate in the Agriculture More Than Ever campaign.

The following are some key recruitment and retention advice:

•Host a job fair to attract potential employees.

•Engage on social media (LinkedIn) and post on online job boards.

•Post videos showing team work and company success.

•Consider recruiting summer students (co-op or interns)

•Use a firm to assist with overseas agriculture recruitment.

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