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Farm Supervisor - Beef Production

 Krista Connick - Todd

Beef Farming Overview

The ‘beef’ industry, which includes operations that primarily raise and finish cattle, including feedlots, employs 40,900 people. One of the largest agricultural employers in Canada, the beef industry has undergone a considerable decline in recent years.

  • However, the outlook for beef between now and 2025 is strong, due to a growing demand for animal protein in emerging markets. As a result, output in the beef industry is expected to rise by an average of 2.5% per year during this time.

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Beef Farm Supervisors spend much of their time overseeing work in field, barns, pens, parlor, as well as working in the office.

  • 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

  • Head of Calving
  • Lead Hand
  • Feedlot/Yard Herdsperson
  • Supervisor/Foreman/Head Herdsperson
  • Animal Farm Husbandry Foreman/woman
  • Cattle Ranch Foreman/woman
  • Cow Boss
  • Herdsman/woman
  • Feedlot Foreman/woman
  • Foreman/woman
  • Livestock Foreman/woman
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Beef Farm Supervisors supervise activity related to growing, raising, and harvesting livestock.

  • Supervise implementation of the strategic plan
  • Supervise employees
  • Supervise risk management
  • Build customer relations
  • Supervise occupational health and safety
  • Supervise food safety and security
  • Supervise maintenance of infrastructure, equipment and supplies
  • Supervise production and harvesting
  • Monitor compliance with legislation, regulations and standards
  • Supervise operating procedures
  • Supervise environmental sustainability
  • Supervise biosecurity
  • Supervise maintenance of facilities, pens and pastures
  • Supervise breeding and calving
  • Supervise cattle health and welfare
  • Supervise the movement and transportation of cattle
  • Supervise horsemanship training
  • Supervise the processing of arriving cattle
  • Supervise feeding of cattle in cow-calf operation
  • Supervise feeding of cattle during backgrounding in pasture
  • Supervise feeding of cattle during backgrounding in a feedlot
  • Supervise feeding of cattle in a finishing feedlot
  • Supervise forage and crop production
  • Supervise the use of equipment, tools and technology

What competencies are required for this job?

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

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Cattle Production
  • Teamwork
  • Facilities Maintenance - Animals/Livestock
  • Conflict Management
  • Attention to Detail
  • Results Management 

What attracts people to this job?

Leadership and supervisory skills and experience are valuable on beef operations, as well as in other sub sectors of agriculture and other industries. People who want to lead other people are attracted to supervisory work.

  • Supervisors are people who can deal with almost any situation on the farm. On small operations, the owner often works as a supervisor.

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Beef Farm Supervisors with extensive training and experience can become Managers. To do this it may be necessary to work for (or go to work for) a larger operation.

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

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for Beef Farm Supervisors ranges. Benefits can include:

  • an opportunity to use farm equipment for personal use (workers who own land)
  • housing (usually in older farm houses or trailers)
  • extended holidays during slow periods
  • dental and health plans
  • products from the operation e.g. sides of beef