Canadian producers more likely to work on production skills than management skills


It was Albert Einstein that said, “When you stop learning, you start dying”

In today’s world of fast-paced change and competitiveness, farmers and ranchers face immense challenges on a daily basis.  All entrepreneurs face the stiff challenge of staying current, but not everyone views or tackles the skills gap the same.

In February, RealAgristudies dove into the topic of farmer skill development to better understand farmers’ participation in learning and development events and potential improvements in specific areas of production and business management.

Our study found that 68 per cent of Canadian producers have participated in a learning and development activity in the last twelve months, while 32 per cent have said they had not. Age, farm size, and geography were factors in whether you took training in the last twelve months or not.

Learn more about the study findings by watching Shaun Haney and Justin Funk break down the results

In terms of where producers are focusing that learning attention (see graph below),  there are a few interesting points to note.


The majority of learning and development farmers participated in focuses on operational activities, such as production/agronomy and marketing, while other more executive, CEO-related topics are a lesser focus. Strategy planning, accounting, finance, succession planning and human resources fall behind in terms of training farmers have participated in.

Human resources at 15 per cent sparked some feedback from the RealAgriculture audience. As member put it, “with all of the attention on the difficulty of managing employees and even recruiting employees, we are not doing much about it.”

From a supply perspective, there are many more opportunities to take in production/marketing learning than more of the executive-type content, but I think this data is a clear sign of the divergence of the two types of content from each other. As another farmer said to me, “if you want to improve on strategy and your financial literacy there are lots options if you look for it.”

Over the coming weeks we will break down more of the data from this study.

If you want to learn more about it, please email me at [email protected] or go to

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