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

  • Much of the work is seasonal, and some workers return to the same producer year after year to work the harvest period.
  • 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

  • Cultivator Operator
  • Farm Machine Operator
  • Harvester Machine Operator
  • Vegetable Farm Worker
  • Experienced Farm Worker
  • Experienced Field Person
  • Specialized Machinery Operator
  • Specialized Equipment Operator
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Farm Workers perform activities related 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 
  • Prepare soil and fields for planting 
  • Plant potatoes 
  • Irrigate potatoes 
  • Apply pesticides 
  • Apply fertilizer 
  • Identify signs of crop damage 
  • Harvest potatoes 
  • Grade and store harvested potatoes 
  • Ship harvested potatoes 
  • Transport farm equipment 
  • Use equipment, tools and technology 
  • Maintain equipment and facilities 
  • Apply knowledge specific to potato farming 

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
  • Food Safety
  • Problem Identification and Problem Solving
  • Equipment and Tools Maintenance
  • Digital technology

What attracts people to this job?

Workers are 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.

  • Potato Farm Workers who apply themselves (and complete any necessary training as appropriate) may eventually move up to supervisory or technical roles.

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

In larger operations, Potato Farm Workers are often moved laterally – from one position to another. 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?

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for this job ranges, but tends to be hourly at minimum wage or slightly higher.