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Attracting skilled farm labour


June 17, 2010
By Dave Harrison


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June 17, 2010, Calgary – “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Farms: Employment and
Skills Development” was the theme surrounding a national forum held in
Calgary
this week, organized by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
(CAHRC).



June 17, 2010, Calgary – “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Farms: Employment and
Skills Development” was the theme surrounding a national forum held in Calgary
this week, organized by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
(CAHRC).

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Producers from across the country joined members of general farm
organizations, representatives from post-secondary institutions and government
to discuss employment and skills development issues particular to primary agriculture.
The forum was the culmination of a series of regional meetings held
across the country over the past several months.

The council also announced its most recent initiative, the Leadership
Assessment project. Leadership skills are required in the industry to lead the
increasingly complex businesses within the agricultural sector in today’s
environment. While a range of successful and much-needed programs are available
across Canada, none offer a focus on developing HR leadership on the farm. As a
key component of this project, CAHRC will work with stakeholders to define and
assess the skills and knowledge necessary for farmers to develop effective HR
practices.

Terry Murray, chair of CAHRC’s board of directors and member of the Wild
Rose Agricultural Producers, Alberta’s largest producer-funded general farm
organization, stressed the need for leadership within the industry’s current
labour market as well as the need to raise the bar on employment and skills
development to assist in the recruitment and retention of employees. “Building
Canada’s agriculture workforce requires leadership that is receptive to new
ideas and diverse viewpoints,” said Murray. “Today’s leaders continue to think
strategically to solve problems, but they also need to be open to learning from
the broader perspectives of others.”

CAHRC’s
Labour Market Information on Recruitment and Retention Report, published in
June 2009, revealed that primary agricultural producers across the Country will
require an additional 50,000 non-seasonal and 38,000 seasonal workers by the
year 2013 and highlights the urgent challenges faced by one of Canada’s most
important industries.