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Farm Labourer - Potato Production

 Mary Robinson

Potato Farming Overview

The ‘field fruit and vegetable’ industry includes potato farming, with potatoes being grown in every province of Canada. Production is concentrated in the east and west followed by central Canada. 

  • In Canada, the majority of potato production is for processing potatoes into foods such as French fries, chips etc. Other purposes include production for fresh table consumption or of seed potatoes.

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Potato Farm Labourers perform a wide variety of tasks that depend on the type of operation.

  • Much of the work is seasonal, and many positions are only available for planting and harvesting. The work is physically demanding and includes lifting and carrying. Packing room workers may lift fifty pound boxes for extended periods. 
  • Farm Labourers are fully supervised, may operate farm machinery, and acquire skills/ knowledge through on-the-job-training. Typically, farm labourers need no formal education or prior farm experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Crop Labourer
  • Field Labourer
  • Grader
  • Harvester
  • Sorter
  • Packer
  • Picker
  • Pile Operator
  • Seed Cutter
  • Vegetable Labourer
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Farm Labourers assist with activities relating to planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

  • Comply with legislation and regulations 
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) 
  • Maintain the health and safety of self and others 
  • Comply with food safety and biosecurity policies and procedures 
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices 
  • Grade and cut seed potatoes 
  • Assist with potato harvest 
  • Assist with grading and storing harvested potatoes 
  • Assist with preparing harvested potatoes for shipping 
  • Assist with the transportation of farm equipment 
  • Use equipment, tools and technology 
  • Assist with the maintenance of equipment and facilities 

What competencies are required for this job?

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

  • Agricultural Health and Safety
  • Environmental Sustainable Work Practices
  • Potato Production
  • Iniative
  • Adaptibility
  • Attention to Detail
  • Interactive Communication 
  • Teamwork

What attracts people to this job?

This job is a good starting point for people seeking temporary or long term employment. In most cases it is not necessary to have crop experience or even any formal working experience, nor is it necessary to have a high school diploma. Working as a Crop Farm Labourer:

  • gives people an opportunity to learn about operating and maintaining equipment
  • gives people an opportunity to live a rural lifestyle

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Potato Farm Labourers that gain experience and learn to perform more complex tasks and activities will become an experienced Worker. With more production experience and some training courses, they can become specialized in some aspect of potato production, or can become farm supervisors to manage a crew.

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

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for this category is close to minimum wage.

  • Benefits are minimal.