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Farm Worker - Mushroom Production

 Lydia Schouten

Mushroom Farming Overview

The ‘greenhouse, nursery, floriculture and turf’ industry includes more than 100 mushroom farms across the country that produce more than 200 million pounds (91,000 tonnes) of mushrooms annually, with 80 million lb. (36,300 tonnes) of fresh mushrooms being exported to the US market.

  • Up to 50% of mushroom farm expenses result from labour costs, and so growers are working with academic institutes and technology partners to develop robotics that could reduce requirements in the future.

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Similar to Labourers, Mushroom Farm Workers perform a wide variety of tasks that depend on the type of operation.

  • Farm workers require minimal or no supervision; operate farm machinery and equipment; and acquire skills/knowledge through a combination of on-the-job training, formal training, and experience. Typically, farm workers need some secondary school education and up to two years of occupational training or farm experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Experienced General Labourer
  • Maintenance Worker
  • Mushroom Grower Assistant
  • Mushroom Harvester Worker
  • Receiver and Shipper
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Mushroom Farm Workers perform activities related to planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

  • Comply with legislation and regulations 
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) 
  • Maintain health and safety of self and others 
  • Follow food safety and security procedures 
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices 
  • Prepare phase I compost 
  • Prepare phase II compost
  • Prepare phase III compost 
  • Transfer phase III compost to growing room 
  • Add casing 
  • Follow integrated pest management strategies 
  • Harvest mushrooms 
  • Perform post-harvest activities 
  • Use equipment, tools and technology 
  • Maintain equipment and tools 
  • Apply knowledge specific to growing commercial mushrooms 

What competencies are required for this job?

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

  • Agricultural Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices 
  • Mushroom Production
  • Food Safety
  • Problem Identification and Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Achievement Orientation 
  • Attention to Detail  

What attracts people to this job?

Workers are at the core of any farming operation – the people who actually do the work. They are also the people who are promoted to supervisory roles and/or trained to become technical specialists. 

  • Mushroom Farm Workers who apply themselves (and complete the necessary training) may eventually move up to supervisory or technical roles.

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

In larger operations, Mushroom Farm Workers are often moved laterally – from one position to another within the same category. This lateral movement gives workers broader experience and prepares them for technical or supervisory roles. 

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

The Mushroom Industry Wage Survey, conducted between March and May 2017, provides detailed compensation information about current hourly wage rates and piece work for occupations in the mushroom industry.