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40% of Canadian farm operators will retire by 2033: report

By Brad Perry Apr 11, 2023 | 5:00 AM

Canada’s agriculture sector is preparing for one of the biggest labour transitions in the country’s history.

That is according to a new report from Royal Bank of Canada, BCG Centre for Canada’s Future and Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph.

Around two-in-five Canadian farm operators are expected to retire over the next decade, the report found, and about two-thirds of producers do not have a succession plan in place.

Over the same period, a shortfall of 24,000 general farm, nursery and greenhouse workers is expected to emerge.

It comes as Canada is already dealing with one of the worst shortages of agricultural workers in the workd, trailing only the U.S. and the Netherlands.

“These gaps loom at a time when Canada’s agricultural workforce needs to evolve to include skills like data analytics and climate-smart practices that enable us to grow more food with fewer emissions,” said the report.

The report includes a three-point plan aimed at offsetting the short-term skills crisis and growing the agriculture sector.

It said Canada will need to increase immigration of farm operators by 30,000 over the next decade to establish their own farms and greenhouses or take over existing ones.

“Many farms and greenhouses are already looking to other countries to address the need for low-skilled labour,” said the report.

Canada will also need to promote agricultural education to attract new students, and increasing the amount of money being spent on automation.

You can view the full report by clicking here.


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