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Assisting producers through labour challenges

KAP general manager, James Battershill says members could use support when dealing with human resource issues

Keystone Agriculture Producers is running a pilot project to see if it can help farmers find the workers they need.

“We hear a lot of concerns from farmers, especially those with non-family employees, about their legal obligations and what the best human resource practices are,” said KAP general manager, James Battershill.

KAP began piloting a human resource benefits program in June with seven producers who run a range of operations, from two to 14 employees.

“We work with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council to address human resource issues facing the Manitoba agriculture industry, but we also want to look at different ways we can develop solutions to support the needs of our members,” said Battershill.

The service acts as a human resource lifeline, with an on-call specialist capable of assisting producers with advice and direction on how to manage labour challenges.

“In conversations with various members it has become apparent that they are facing considerable human resource issues, whether it be in terms of delinquent staff or working through the process of using the temporary foreign worker program.”

KAP has collaborated with the Winnipeg human resource firm, People First, and has been piloting the project with operations consisting of full-time, part-time and seasonal staff.

Following the three-month pilot program, KAP will consult with all involved and determine the effectiveness of the program before deciding whether to roll it out to its membership as a whole.

“Finding and retaining farm employees is difficult, especially the further you move away from city centres, and having a strong, reliable team can certainly provide a competitive edge,” said Battershill. “We are hoping this service will help producers in managing staff and making informed decisions.”

About the author

Reporter

Jennifer Paige is a reporter centred in southwestern Manitoba. She previously wrote for the agriculture-based magazine publisher, Issues Ink and was the sole-reporter at the Minnedosa Tribune for two years prior to joining the Manitoba Co-operator.

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