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Farm Supervisor - Sheep Production

 Mopani Communications, Canadian Sheep Federation / Fédération canadienne du mouton

Sheep Farming Overview

The ‘sheep and goat’ industry includes operations that are primarily engaged in raising sheep and goats and feeding or fattening lambs. The majority of industry workers are located in Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec, which account for 40%, 23%, and 22% of the workforce, respectively.

  • With both output levels and productivity trending upward, the ‘sheep and goat’ industry will be able to meet production targets with a smaller workforce. Since 2002, the number of ‘sheep and goat’ farms has fallen by a quarter. However, output has increased during this time, as the industry’s productivity, or the output each worker can produce, has increased by 0.5% per year, so the decline in farms hasn’t negatively affected production levels.

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Sheep Farm Supervisors spend time in barns, sheds, corrals, paddocks and grazing areas, and in the office.

  • 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

  • Agriculture Foreman/Woman
  • Farm Supervisor
  • Lead Hand
  • Sheep Herdsperson
  • Sheep Farm Supervisor
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Sheep Farm Supervisors supervise activities related to growing, raising, and harvesting livestock.

  • Supervise implementation of the strategic plan
  • Supervise employees
  • Supervise risk management
  • Build customer relations
  • Supervise occupational health and safety
  • Supervise food safety and security
  • Supervise maintenance of infrastructure, equipment and supplies
  • Supervise production and harvesting
  • Monitor compliance with legislation, regulations and standards
  • Supervise operating procedures
  • Supervise the maintenance of facilities, housing and fences
  • Supervise biosecurity
  • Supervise maintenance of sheep health and welfare
  • Supervise crop production
  • Supervise the provision of feed and water
  • Supervise breeding
  • Supervise lambing
  • Supervise the finishing of lambs
  • Supervise sheep handling
  • Supervise the use of equipment, tools and technology
  • Supervise environmental sustainability
  • Supervise post-production activities

What competencies are required for this job?

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

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Sheep Production
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Decision Making
  • Results Management
  • Achievement Orientation
  • Fostering a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace 

What attracts people to this job?

Leadership and supervisory skills and experience are valuable on sheep operations, as well as in other sub sectors of agriculture and other industries. People who want to lead other people are attracted to supervisory work.

  • 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?

Sheep Farm Supervisors with extensive training and experience can become Managers. To do this it may be necessary to work for (or go to work for) a larger operation. 

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

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for Sheep Farm Supervisors ranges. 

  • Benefits include the use of company vehicles.