The program will take place over three Saturdays in April and May
By Diego Flammini
A post-secondary school in Saskatchewan is offering a new program designed for people interested in working in agriculture but who have little or no prior experience.
Parkland College’s Introduction to Farm Hand course provides the basic skills for work during the busy spring season. Participants will get the hands-on training needed to work on a Saskatchewan grain farm.
The demographics around family farms is changing. That’s one of the reasons this course is necessary, said Connie Brown, manager of business development with Parkland College.
“You’re seeing fewer of those traditional farm kids who grew up on a farm and can do everything,” she told Farms.com. “A lot of farmers or operators rely on retired farmers to help out during busy seasons. But as those people get older the pool of people you can call up gets smaller.”
A local community communicated to the college a need for this kind of education and is helping deliver the material.
Representatives from Lemberg, Sask. contacted the school to see if there was an opportunity for the two to work together.
“One of our councilors made the suggestion,” Murray Clarke, mayor of Lemberg, told Farms.com. “I contacted Connie Brown and everything kind of snowballed from there.”
The course will take place over three Saturdays in April and May at the Lemberg Town Hall. The course costs $695 and the deadline to apply is April 7.
The Introduction to Farm Hand course will cover basic farm safety, an introduction to field equipment, safe work practices and Power Mobile Equipment theory.
Aside from being the mayor of Lemberg, Clarke has a custom grain cleaning business.
He’s seen the challenges some farmers have when it comes to retaining people who can work on a farm.
“I have friends who are producers and it’s a constant battle to finding and keeping qualified help,” he said. “The need is there but it’s a bit of a revolving door.”
Clarke is also using some of his resources to ensure the students have access to equipment during the course.
Some of the equipment students can expect to learn on includes a sprayer, rock picker and land roller, he said.
Depending on the success of this spring program, Parkland College may offer a similar course close to harvest, Brown said.