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Farm Supervisor - Swine Production

 Alberta Pork

Swine Farming Overview

The 'swine' or hog industry, which includes farm operations that primarily raise hogs and pigs, accounts for just 4% of the total agricultural workforce. More than half (55%) of the industry’s workforce is concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, with the Prairies accounting for another 35% of the workforce.

  • While domestic demand for pork products is expected to remain weak, the global demand will increase due to the growing disposable incomes in emerging countries, and the Canadian hog industry is expected to benefit from this trend.

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Swine Farm Supervisors spend time in the field, the office, and in the shop, barns, or nurseries.

  • Swine Farm Supervisors report to a Swine Farm Manager or owner, but have some freedom and autonomy to perform tasks and assignments the way they think is most appropriate. On smaller sites the Swine Farm Supervisor is in charge.
  • 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

  • Animal Farm Foreman/Forewoman
  • Animal Husbandry Foreman/Forewoman
  • Hog Foreman/Forewoman
  • Hog Operations Supervisor
  • Lead Hand
  • Swine Production Supervisor
  • Nursery Supervisor
  • Breeding Supervisor
  • Farrowing Supervisor
  • Grow - Finish Supervisor

*Many supervisory jobs are combined on smaller operations

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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Swine Farm Supervisors supervise activity 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 environmental sustainability 
  • Supervise biosecurity 
  • Supervise maintenance of swine health and welfare 
  • Supervise maintenance of facilities, housing and pens 
  • Supervise the provision of feed and water 
  • Supervise breeding activities 
  • Supervise farrowing and weaning 
  • Supervise nursery activities 
  • Supervise grow-finish phase 
  • Supervise pig handling 
  • Supervise the use of production equipment, tools and technology

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
  • Swine Production
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Interactive Communication
  • Achievement Orientation
  • Developing Others
  • Planning and Organizing 

What attracts people to this job?

Good supervisors are hard to find and are highly valued. Leadership and supervisory skills and experience are useful and beneficial in swine operations, as well as other 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?

Swine Farm Supervisors with extensive training and experience can become Swine Farm Managers and/or Owners. Lateral moves into different technical specialties or to other sites are also possible.

  • Swine Supervisors may be recruited to work for companies that provide supplies and support services to swine operations (e.g. feed companies, equipment suppliers, etc.).

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. Benefits can include:

  • Christmas bonuses, meat vouchers, and medical dental and RRSP contribution matching after a three month probationary period.