By Shankar Das
Farm Business Management Specialist
Ministry of Agriculture
The availability of labour is becoming a bigger issue on many farms. This gets more challenging when available workers are also attracted to other competing businesses which offer higher wages and more benefits. In this article I will focus on the labour availability.
There are two principal sources of farm labour pools: (1) finding and hiring a skilled labourer from suitable local sources, and (2) hiring from the international pool.
Local sources include the farmers who have rented their land, adults from other farms in area, and relatively young retirees from other industries that remain in the community and who still want to work. Even those who are not directly connected to a farm could be a good source. If they are interested in agriculture, they may be a good employee but they will probably need some training.
The Ag Operator program from Parkland College is a program that provides training to labourers who have no experience or it could be another source for skilled farm labourers. A pilot project of the Agricultural Operator Program is offering hands-on training to individuals interested in or currently working in primary agriculture. For more information, please contact the Parkland College at www.parklandcollege.sk.ca or phone 1-306-783-6566
The second option is finding and recruiting labourers through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) for international workers. Under the TFWP, the workers must be from Mexico or certain other Caribbean countries and the activities must be related to on-farm primary agriculture.
For more information on hiring a TFW, please contact Human Resource development Canada at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/jobs/foreign_workers/agriculture/comparison.shtml
Also, several local farm labour consulting firms can also help find and recruit farm labourers for the producer from both local as well as international sources mentioned above. Please note that the consultants must be registered with Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy.
As farmers realize they are becoming managers of people they may like to upgrade their human resource skills. The Ministry of Agriculture offers funding for human resource management under the program called Farm Business Development Initiative of Growing Forward 2.
For more information, please visit, http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/GF2-FBDI. For additional Information please contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377