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Farm Supervisor - Crop Production

Lydia Schouten

Crop / Grain and Oilseed Farming Overview

The 'grain and oilseed' industry includes farm operations that produce a wide variety of crops, with wheat, canola, soybeans, and feed corn being the industry’s key products. Other industry products include pulses (such as lentils and dry peas), barley, oats, and fodder crops.

  • While the grain and oilseed industry’s strong growth outlook will require a bigger workforce to meet output targets, the domestic labour force is predicted to shrink, with retirement being one of the key factors affecting the labour supply.

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Crop Farm Supervisors spend much of their time overseeing work, as well as in the field, 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

  • Crop Production Supervisor
  • Grain Crop Foreman/woman
  • Irrigation Supervisor 
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Crop 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 production
    • Verify employee compliance with legislation and regulations
    • Verify compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
    • Supervise food safety and biosecurity
    • Supervise environmentally sustainable work practices
    • Supervise the preparation of sites and soil for planting
    • Supervise the preparation of seed for planting
    • Supervise nutrient application
    • Supervise the planting of crops
    • Supervise irrigation of crops
    • Monitor compliance with integrated pest, disease, and weed management strategies
    • Supervise harvest
    • Supervise the storage of harvested crops
    • Supervise the transportation of harvested crops
    • Supervise the transportation of farm equipment
    • Supervise facilities, equipment and supplies
    • Apply knowledge specific to crop production

    What competencies are required for this job?

    Crop Farm Supervisors lead crews of crop workers. They also perform specialized tasks, depending on the type and size of the operation. Competencies or abilities include:

    • Agricultural Health and Safety
    • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
    • Crop Production
    • Adaptibility
    • Developing Others 
    • Conflict Management
    • Planning and Organizing
    • Decision Making

    What attracts people to this job?

    Leadership and supervisory skills and experience are valuable on crop farms, as well as other sub sectors of agriculture and other industries. Supervisors are interested in:

    • Leading other people
    • Taking on responsibility
    • Planning 

    Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

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

    • Supervisors may be recruited away from crop producers to work for companies that provide supplies and support services to crop 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 rates for Crop Farm Supervisors ranges from $20 to $25 per hour. Benefits can include:

    • Access to farm equipment for personal use.
    • Extended holidays during quiet times.
    • On farm house or trailer accommodation.