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Farm Worker - 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 Workers perform a wide variety of tasks that depend on the type of operation.

  • Swine Farm Workers work regular (8 to 9 hour) days in sheds, barns, and nurseries, or in some cases outdoors operating trucks and equipment. The work can be physically demanding and may include some lifting, carrying, and moving feed and pigs.
  • 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

  • Nursery Worker
  • Breeding Worker
  • Farrowing Worker
  • Swine Production Worker
  • Field Equipment Operator
  • Boar Stud Worker
  • Feed Truck Driver
  • Equipment / Machinery Operator
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

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

  • Comply with legislation, regulations and standards
  • Follow standard operating procedures
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices
  • Maintain health and safety of self and others
  • Maintain biosecurity
  • Maintain health and welfare of swine
  • Maintain facilities, rooms and pens
  • Maintain feed and water 
  • Perform breeding activities 
  • Perform farrowing and weaning activities 
  • Perform nursery activities 
  • Perform grow-finish activities 
  • Move and transport swine 
  • Use equipment, tools and technology 
  • Maintain equipment, tools, supplies and technology 

What competencies are required for this job?

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

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Envrionmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Swine Production
  • Decision Making
  • Animal Health and Welfare
  • Attention to Detail
  • Teamwork
  • Achievement Orientation

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.

  • Swine Farm Workers are given opportunities to try virtually every task and gain valuable industry experience

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

In larger operations, Swine Farm Workers are often moved laterally – from one position to another within the same category. This lateral movement gives workers broader experience and prepares them for technical or supervisory roles.

Swine Farm Workers who apply themselves (and complete the necessary training) may eventually move up to supervisory or technical roles. 

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 $16 to $20 per hour. Benefits can include:

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