Last night I met a man whose family is heavily involved in agriculture but he did not grow up in the business so to speak. Recently after a successful career in another industry he decided to take a position within the family business in a senior management role. His comments about the industry were so interesting because they mirrored the positive stereotypical comments about agriculture. “You can still do business on a handshake, people are genuine……” Totally unscripted and provoked over a glass of wine, such awesome comments about agriculture came to light from someone who was directly experiencing the industry for the first time in his career.
So why do we have trouble getting people to take on jobs in the agriculture marketplace when we have examples like the one I just gave you above? Why are there so many vacancies for farm workers, sales positions, researchers and senior executives? Instead of speculating and providing my thoughts I talked to a professional who places people in positions within the industry for a living.
At the Regina Farm Progress Show 2010, Steve Peddie, Western Canadian Manager of AgCallHR discussed with me the current ag job market and some of the potential barriers to entry into the industry. Where is there demand for applicants, are current pay levels a deterrent for people to enter agriculture, and is it possible to recruit people into the industry that do not have agriculture backgrounds?
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It is very clear based on my conversation with Steve that even though there has been massive amounts of consolidation at the farm level and industry level, there is still a high amount of opportunity to work in agriculture. Whether you are a producer, researcher, marketer or other. For those of us in the industry we realize that there are challenges (think about the weather this spring) but overall it is a great industry to be in. We just need more people to be in it.