The Toughest Job in Agriculture Right Now

Do you think your job is tough? Seeding and planting (lingo depending on where you live) season is a real hectic time. You get up early and go home late. The days are long but it is nothing in my mind in comparison to what the human resources department is going through at the Canadian Wheat Board.

Due to a massive change in scope the Canadian Wheat is cutting staff in very substantial ways. In my discussion with Maureen Fitzhenry, Media Relations, the company has cut down to 315 employees from 430 a year ago.

According to a story in the Western Producer, the plan is to cut staff further leaving a more modest staff level of 100.  Being on the human resources team at the Canadian wheat Board has got to be one of the worst jobs right now in Agriculture.   No matter what your opinions are of the CWB, you have to have empathy for the people being let go.

It cannot be very enjoyable for anyone to have to daily go through the routine of, “ummm Harry can you please come into my office, there is something we need to chat about discreetly.”  This cannot be easy for anyone.  It would be difficult to go to work knowing that me doing my HR job would be creating so much heartache for my co-workers.  Hiring is definitely more fun than firing.

To my surprise Maureen Fitzhenry did indicate to me that the current CWB staff is looking toward the future with optimism and the mood is good.  In my my mind this is quite a feat in itself considering the layoffs that have transpired and will continue over the next two years.  CWB human resources is definitely the toughest job in agriculture right now.

4 thoughts on “The Toughest Job in Agriculture Right Now

  1. No, I don’t think so…. They are not having to put 10’s of thousands of $$ in the ground and pray….. to spend that much money is always a risk that is never truely compensated for unless you have a good crop…. they are at risk of losing their jobs, YES …. but not their livelyhood ……
    jobs can be replaced. Providing they have planned for the future… they should be ok for awhile… there is employment insurance and they have skilles to approach life at a different job, and possibly new place to live….. we can’t take the dirt with us….. we rely on much more… mother nature first…. and this has nothing to do with being Pro or Not….

  2. Everytime I talked to someone at the CWB and they got after me for something I told them it didn’t matter because they would be out of a job soon enough. The condescending tone that alot of the front line people had was awful. I assume it came from the top. There comment back was aleays “Ya, we will see about that.” Hmm. Who was right. If they were as good at their jobs as their former bosses said they were, they should have no problem finding private sector jobs.

  3. I so agree with Debra,
    We must remember most of those being laid off will in some way shape of form be walking away with a package.
    Yes it sucks to lose a job, yes they may be undergoing a huge change its not like they are putting years of back breaking work on the line in hopes of a rain or not too much rain.

    Yes it would suck to be the HR person doing the lay offs , but as far as the employees go they will be fine unless they are not employable and if that’s the case they should not have been working for us in the first place. What do they say most people go thru about 5 career changes in a life.

  4. While it is upsetting to hear of people getting laid off, they did have a pretty good job while they had it. What exactly were their job descriptions anyway? So, over 100 people have been let go, with more to come. How many additional people have been hired in the private sector to do the job they were doing? I know of 2 people from the Ontario industry that have moved to western Canada for jobs in grain procurement, but I doubt that there will be anywhere near the amount of people needed that the CWB were using.

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