by Stella Shepard
The PEI Agriculture Sector Council is a non-profit organization which identifies and addresses human resources issues in the agriculture industry.
“Typically, about 4,400 jobs are directly related to agriculture on PEI,” says Laurie Loane, Executive Director, PEI Agriculture Sector Council.
“Our industry is changing, and with the use of new technology it can increase our growing season. Farms are expanding their product into other by-products, which can extend the workers’ employment time.
“Farmers look to hire labourers in March and April. In the summer, 200 to 300 labourer jobs could be listed, and then we have a huge amount of hiring for four to eight weeks in the fall for harvest. Depending on the commodity, a lot of these jobs are available all year round.
“There are also jobs in management, science, human resources, mechanics, government, and at agriculture-related companies.
“At the start of COVID-19, some farms put their hiring on hold and were just continuing to work with their present staff as a precaution. But most employers are hiring and just making sure that everyone is social distancing, providing extra wash stations, and extra gear.”
Demand for seasonal workers
“There is a high demand at harvest time for farm workers,” says Laurie. “Some farms lose student workers as they return to school, leaving a labour shortage on the farm. Also, harvest time can last just four to eight weeks for certain commodities, and it’s challenging to find labourers for short periods of employment.”
Seasonal employment opportunities
- Farm Technician
- Forklift Driver
- Tractor/Combine Operator
- Class 1 & Class 3 A Driver
Other year-round jobs
- Dairy Relief Milker
- Dairy Herdsman
- Seed Technician
- Vet Technician
- Equipment Operator/Mechanic
Where to find job postings
PEI Agriculture Sector Council website: www.peiagsc.ca/employment.php
The Blue Seal Farm Technician Apprenticeship program is expected to start January 11, 2021. For more information, visit www.peiagsc.ca/farmtech.php
Tuition for the program is 100 percent subsidized by SkillsPEI. Apprentices must be EI eligible and have 1,000 hours work experience in the agriculture industry.
Any questions about careers in agriculture, call the PEI Agriculture Sector Council at 902-892-1091.