It appears as though we may be seeing a serious shortage of workers in the agricultural sector over the next 10 years.
According to a recent report by RBC, 40 per cent of farm operators will retire by the year 2033. There will also be a severe shortfall of 24,000 general workers on farms, nurseries and greenhouses over the same period.
The study also said that 66 per cent of those producers have no successors in place which puts agriculture on the cusp of the biggest labour and leadership shortage in Canada’s history.
The director of the Alberta Wheat Commission, Dave Bishop, says it’s a huge problem with not a lot of solutions in sight for producers.
“There’s lots of farms where maybe none of their children want to farm, or their parents are saying, maybe we can’t afford to have them farm. So it’s going to be, I would say, maybe even less than ten years we’ll be seeing some changes coming. And I don’t know if it’s all going to be for the good, because we may have to see larger farms be more amalgamation of the smaller farms and the bigger farms, and I can see more and more of that coming. I think it’s just a natural evolution of what’s going on in the farming industry right now.”
As part of the RBC report, it was suggested that in the short-term permanent immigration status should be given to 24,000 general farm workers and 30 thousand operators to bridge retirement and staffing gaps.