Managing labour can be a harvest challenge

As the fall harvest season nears, farmers across Ontario are making sure equipment is ready for the fields and there are enough hands available before harvest is underway.

Sourcing enough labour remains a challenge for many farmers and agribusinesses across Ontario.

Why it matters: The need for more labour in agriculture is a long-term challenge and can’t be attributed just to the pandemic.

“We’re seasonal so if someone leaves, we need to fill the spots right away,” says Mel Foster, owner and operator of Foster Family Farm in Kemptville, who had a sales and service position available on his farm.

He turned to the Feeding Your Future program, established at the onset of the pandemic by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. 

The Fosters grow 500 acres of strawberries, sweet corn, yellow and green beans, broccoli, squash and pumpkins. Healthy crops reflect the work of a strong team of staff as farming is filled with labour intensive practices. 

In a virtual world, it has been challenging for employers and job seekers to connect on hiring opportunities. Working through and Feeding Your Future, employers are encouraged to take advantage of a free job matching service to connect with eligible and qualified job seeking candidates. 

“It was a very easy process for us,” said Foster. The job matching service offers the ease of creating and posting a job description through the help of an employee. This staff member will manage and filter all incoming job applications to ensure qualified candidates that will suit the farm that is hiring.

OFA understands the challenges faced by farmers looking for new hires and is eager to bridge the current labour gap. 

Additional Feeding Your Future projects include virtual career fairs, informative webinars and training opportunities. In combination these services offer the opportunity for employers and job seekers to connect directly, with the additional benefit of training, to ensure job seekers are qualified and prepared to work on a farm. To complement the Ontario Agriculture Worker Safety & Awareness certificate, an additional certificate is in the works and will be ready to launch in early 2022. 

For more information about these services, please visit the website at

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