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Farm Worker - 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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Similar to Labourers, Sheep 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

  • Lamb Feedlot Worker
  • Shepherd
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Sheep Farm Workers peform activities related to growing, raising, and harvesting livestock.

  • Comply with legislation, regulations and standards
  • Follow standard operating procedures
  • Maintain health and safety of self and others
  • Maintain facilities, housing and fences
  • Maintain biosecurity
  • Maintain health and welfare of sheep
  • Produce crops
  • Maintain feed and water
  • Perform breeding activities
  • Perform lambing activities
  • Perform finishing activities
  • Handle sheep
  • Use equipment, tools and technology
  • Maintain equipment, tools and technology
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices
  • Perform 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
  • Continuous Learning
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Adaptability
  • Initiative
  • Problem Identification and Problem Solving 

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. 

  • Ambitious people become Sheep Farm Workers to learn how to supervise or manage a sheep operation, so that one day they can manage their own

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Sheep Farm Workers may be moved laterally – from one job to another within the same category. This gives them broader experience and prepares them for technical or supervisory roles. On smaller operations experienced workers cover more tasks.

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

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for experienced farm workers ranges from $16 to $18 per hour.