37 Percent Of Canadian Farmers May Retire Soon.

by Jenn Smith July 10, 2019

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Canada is a country built on the agriculture industry, and it has long been a popular career choice.

However, according to a report from the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, it seems those times are changing and employers are having a hard time attracting new farmers.

“They’re looking everywhere, under rocks everywhere, and Canadians are just not interested in moving to rural locations and also working on farms,” said Debra Hauer, Manager of the Labor Market Information Program.

It’s forecasted that approximately 37 per cent of the workforce on Canadian farms is expected to retire in the next ten years, and nearly half of employers report struggles filling their labor needs.

Also, one in three responded to the CAHRC survey saying they receive zero Canadian applicants when they post an available job.

But at the same time, wages are increasing at a faster rate compared to other careers.

“There are a number of higher wage jobs in agriculture,” added Hauer. “With the increasing technology, we need people to be able to fix and maintain and use that high-tech equipment.”

Speaking of that high-tech equipment, if there’s nobody to use it, it results in a lot of lost revenue.

“A body that is not there during harvest in a large grain operation means that a farm could lose in the neighborhood of $300,000,” said Hauer.

But there is also a new industry offering high wages that may be more attractive to young workers — legal cannabis.

“Anecdotally, we have heard that there is fierce competition. Especially with the greenhouse and horticulture industries, because the wages that are being offered are just a little bit higher,” Hauer said.

The Council suggests the key in filling these holes lies in attracting underrepresented groups, such as women, young Canadians and Indigenous people.

In the past, there was a reluctance to hire international workers, but now they are also taking positions at an increasing rate.

But with all this talk about money, there are other factors to consider when going into farming life.

“Farmers can advertise the non-monetary benefits,” said Hauer. “The cost of living is a lot less, there’s a sense of community, and if people can imagine where their kids would go to school, what their spouse would be doing, then it can be promoted as a work-life solution.”

Story re-posted from 660 News. Written by Tom Ross.

Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith