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Farm Supervisor - 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 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

  • Lead Hand
  • Vegetable Farm Lead Hand
  • Supervisor - Field Fruit and Vegetables
  • Supervisor
  • Field Foreman
  • Production Supervisor
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

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

  • Supervise implementation of the strategic plan 
  • Supervise employees
  • Supervise risk management 
  • Build customer relations 
  • Supervise health and safety 
  • Supervise food safety and security 
  • Supervise production 
  • Verify employee compliance with legislation and regulation 
  • Verify compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) 
  • Supervise food safety and biosecurity 
  • Supervise environmentally sustainable work practices 
  • Supervise the cutting and treatment of seed potatoes 
  • Supervise the preparation of soil and fields for planting 
  • Supervise the planting of potatoes 
  • Supervise irrigation 
  • Supervise nutrient application 
  • Monitor compliance with integrated pest management strategies (IPM) 
  • Supervise harvest 
  • Supervise the grading and storage of harvested potatoes 
  • Supervise the shipping of harvested potatoes 
  • Supervise the transportation of farm equipment 
  • Supervise facilities, equipment and supplies 
  • Apply knowledge specific to growing potatoes 

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
  • Potato Production
  • Initiative 
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Conflct Management
  • Developing Others
  • Organizational Awareness

What attracts people to this job?

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

  • 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?

Potato Farm Supervisors with extensive training and experience can become Managers on larger farms. On family farms it may not be possible, but lateral moves into different technical specialties or to other sites are options.

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 $15 to $20 per hour, and up to $25 in some circumstances.

  • Benefits can include health and dental plans, company vehicle use, and on farm housing.