Current challenges faced by farmers today
Human labor availability is a major challenge facing farmers around the world today.
- Rural populations are in steady decline worldwide, as people move to urban areas for better opportunities
- The nature of farm work (seasonal)
- An aging workforce
Farm size has continued to grow larger over the last few decades. This has only compounded the farm labor challenge that farms are contending with today. As farms continue to grow in size, they spread over a larger geography and it is much harder for the farm manager to remember all of the finer details and nuances of the field level farming operation, so that they can manage and direct the field level operations effectively on a daily basis. On top of this, it is difficult to manage and direct an employee when they are not familiar with the field’s location, history, or even the farming area in general. This makes it very difficult to manage farm labor efficiently today.
The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) recently released a report called “How Labor Challenges Will Shape the Future of the Grain and Oilseed Industry: Agriculture Forecast to 2029”. It shows that in 2017 the industry was unable to fill over 2000 positions, and this gap is predicted to grow much larger by 2029, the report predicts that 1 in 4 positions could be left vacant. The consequences of such a large labour gap would be devastating to the industry, and potentially to countries that rely on food imports to feed their populations.