GFM Network News


Many farm businesses will need to develop new recruitment strategies over the next decade if they are to compete for the dwindling supply of workers.

In search of new employees for the farm

If it seems you’ve looked everywhere for new employees, maybe it’s time to try a new way of hiring

Reading Time: 7 minutes We keep hearing the numbers. The farm employment crisis is real, and it is getting worse with over 100,000 farm workers expected to retire in the 2020s, and a dwindling number of candidates from traditional sources to replace them. So, why not go to non-traditional sources? Or maybe there are better ways to let potential […] Read more

The question is, if you treat everyone equally, are you really treating them the same?

Equal, and equitable too

In a new column, CAHRC’s Jennifer Wright offers strategies that can boost the opportunity for female family members and employees to contribute on-farm

Reading Time: 6 minutes In 2017, 16,500 jobs could not be filled in Canadian agriculture, resulting in a loss of $2.9 billion in sales. When asked, 47 per cent of agricultural producers said they could not find enough workers, causing stress, production delays, lost sales, and delays or cancellations for farm expansions or upgrades. In the same survey, 34 […] Read more


With a third of Canada’s agricultural workforce nearing retirement, the farm labour issue looms large and it will become a huge issue for farms in the 2020s.

The overseas employee

If we look to 2030, where will we find our farm employees?

Reading Time: 4 minutes Agriculture is already looking outside the agricultural community — and in some cases outside the country — to recruit workers. That’s only going to intensify if, as expected, rural populations stagnate or decline, and if farms consolidate and rely more on hired employees. It’s also worth noting that 112,000 of today’s employees (37 per cent […] Read more

Selling sales

When schools look down on sales, marketing and personal skills, you the farmer lose as much as the students

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ask most recruiters or human resource professionals working in ag today and they will tell you there is a growing gap between the skills needed to perform key roles in agribusiness and the skills that high school, college or university students can bring to the job. Lori Litherland, founder of agricultural recruiter Litherland and Company, […] Read more


With a labour shortage in the agricultural industry, retaining employees is critical, says a University of Guelph professor.

Strategies for successful onboarding

There are better ways for getting a new employee off to a great start, and they really do pay

Reading Time: 5 minutes “I wish they’d told me I was expected to make it a priority for my job” is a refrain Michelle Painchaud hears all too often. Employers somehow think that new employees should simply “get it,” say Painchaud, president of a Winnipeg company that specializes in helping farm businesses recruit and retain new employees. Unfortunately, it’s […] Read more

Research is showing a new trend among farm retirees is finding something rewarding to do, which may involve doing something they’ve delayed due to career or family responsibilities.

‘Redirection’

Is it better to keep farming into your 70s, or to retire off the farm in your early 60s? New research suggests that what you may really need is a rewarding change of direction

Reading Time: 8 minutes It’s easy to see the two pincers coming together, at least when you look at farming from a national perspective. The average Canadian farmer is 55, on the one hand, and the average Canadian retires at 62 on the other. But let’s put a best-case face on it. For self-employment Canadians — the category that […] Read more


Hiring refugees

A small non-profit in Belleville, Ont., has helped 90 Syrian refugees find good jobs on farms and in the ag and food sector. Now other regions across Canada are replicating their model

Reading Time: 4 minutes Shortly after coming to power in Ottawa, the federal Liberals announced Canada would help relocate displaced Syrians, and the program has proved widely popular. Across the country, over 350 communities have welcomed more than 40,000 Syrian refugees. In the midst of it all in 2015, details on how this relocation would be achieved were scarce. […] Read more

Canada’s farmers are already losing $1.5 billion, simply because they can’t find the employees needed for 
the work.

The job ahead

Canada faces its own farm labour gap, and it’s going to get much worse

Reading Time: 15 minutes A black binder sits on the table next to the job board at Aylmer Community Services. Glued to its cover is a stock photo of two hands holding a tiny seedling. Red letters proclaim its title: Agricultural and Farming Jobs.  In the steady stream of job seekers, however, few visitors to the jailhouse-turned-community service centre […] Read more


The multicultural workforce

Reading Time: 4 minutes At the end of the day, Tom Maloney says it all comes down to respect. The senior extension associate at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University has spent decades studying how to successfully manage multicultural teams, and he has advised farmers on how to best manage migrant labour […] Read more

Getting onboard with your employees

The most valuable time you spend with any employee may be their first few hours on the job

Reading Time: 5 minutes Whew! After months of advertising, searching and interviewing, you’ve finally found and hired someone to help on your farm. As processes go, this one has been stressful, time-consuming, and more than a little frustrating. Nor is that surprising. The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council found in 2014 that our farms have a job vacancy rate […] Read more