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Farm Supervisor - Apple Production

 Lydia Schouten

Apple Farming Overview

The ‘tree fruit and vine’ industry includes farms that produce all types of tree fruits such as apples and cherries and tree nuts such as hazelnuts.

  • Work in the tree fruit industry is labour intensive, requiring extensive hand-picking and packaging. It’s also subject to the most pronounced seasonal pattern of any agricultural industry. As a result, the industry relies more heavily on foreign workers to meet its labour requirements.

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Apple Farm Supervisors spend time in the orchards, the office, and in the shop or barns.

  • Farm supervisors operate farm equipment and acquire skills/knowledge through a combination of on-the-job training, formal training, and experience. Typically, Farm Supervisors need some combination of two to three years of post-secondary education; or two to five years of apprenticeship training; or three to four years of secondary school and more than two years of on-the-job training, specialized training courses or specific work experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Supervisor/Production Supervisor
  • Foreman/Forewoman
  • Orchard Supervisor
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Apple Farm Supervisors supervise activity related to planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

  • Supervise the implementation of the strategic plan
  • Supervise employees
  • Supervise risk management
  • Build customer relations
  • Supervise health and safety
  • Supervise food safety and security
  • Supervise production
  • Comply with Legislation and Regulations 
  • Verify compliance with Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) 
  • Supervise on-farm food safety 
  • Supervise environmentally sustainable work practices 
  • Supervise propagation 
  • Supervise the preparation of the orchard site 
  • Supervise tree pruning 
  • Supervise the planting of trees 
  • Supervise the construction and maintenance of the trellis system 
  • Monitor compliance with integrated pest, disease and weed management strategies 
  • Supervise nutrient application 
  • Supervise irrigation 
  • Supervise training and the maintenance of young trees 
  • Supervise thinning of fruit 
  • Supervise production and harvest
  • Supervise post-harvest operations 
  • Supervise facilities, equipment and supplies
  • Apply knowledge specific to growing apples

What competencies are required for this job?

These competencies were identified as most important for successful job performance.

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Envrionmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Apple Production
  • Teamwork
  • Results Management 
  • Interactive Communication
  • Problem Identification and Problem Solving
  • Initiative 

 

What attracts people to this job?

Leadership and supervisory skills and experience that are gained from the job are valuable assets that can be applied to work on other tree fruit farms, as well as in other sub sectors of agriculture and other industries.

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Apple Farm Supervisors with extensive training and experience can become Managers. Lateral moves into different technical specialties or to other sites are also possible.

  • Supervisors may be recruited away from tree fruit producers to work for companies that provide supplies and support services to producers (e.g. equipment companies, fertilizer and pesticide companies, and other service providers).

 

What are the typical pay rates and benefits for this job?

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for this category ranges from $18 to $22. Benefits for full time year round workers can include:

  • matching medical and dental coverage, use of farm vehicles, and possibly on farm accommodation.