General Farm Workers

(NOC 8431)

in All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

General farm workers plant, cultivate, and harvest crops, raise livestock and poultry, and maintain and repair farm equipment and buildings. This group includes operators of farm machinery. General farm workers work for crop, livestock, fruit and vegetable, and specialty farms. General farm workers can become specialized in a crop or livestock production through experience.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 240 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

  • Estimate 415 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 1430 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. General Farm Workers may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being seasonal in nature, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year are fairly common. Also, a average portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

Growth in Nova Scotia's agricultural sector continues to generate strong demand for this occupation. Jobs are often seasonal, short-term, physically demanding and may require working long hours. Opportunities are more common in rural areas of the province.

Hourly Pay

$13.60

Minimum

$15.00

Median

$23.08

Maximum

Annual Pay

$907

Minimum

$12,859

Median

$41,110

Maximum

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$18.00

Median

$30.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,009

Minimum

$23,520

Median

$87,170

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

General farm workers plant, cultivate, and harvest crops, raise livestock and poultry, and maintain and repair farm equipment and buildings. This group includes operators of farm machinery. General farm workers work for crop, livestock, fruit and vegetable, and specialty farms. General farm workers can become specialized in a crop or livestock production through experience.

Job duties

General farm workers:

  • Plant, fertilize, cultivate, spray, irrigate and harvest crops.
  • Feed and tend livestock and poultry.
  • Milk cows.
  • Use and maintain farm machinery and equipment.
  • Detect disease and health problems in crops, livestock, and poultry.
  • Examine produce for quality and prepare for market.
  • Set and monitor water lines, air flow and temperature in barns, pens, and chicken coops.
  • Clean stables, barns, barnyards, and pens.

Sample job titles

  • beekeeping technician
  • egg grader
  • farm equipment operator
  • farm labourer
  • farm worker
  • field and vegetable crop labourer
  • hatchery worker
  • livestock labourer
  • vineyard worker

Skills

  • You should enjoy working outdoors. You should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • There is no specific education or training requirements. However, a college certificate or specialized courses related to farming like farm equipment mechanics, agricultural welding, tree pruning and pesticide application, are available.
  • A course or certificate in first aid may be required.

Other considerations

  • Basic farm knowledge, usually learned by working on a family farm, may be required for employment. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

3,030

employed in 2016

65.7%

employed full-time

11.1%

self employed

30.9%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
69.1%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
38.2

median age

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

14,665

employed in 2016

78.0%

employed full-time

20.0%

self employed

15.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
84.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.6

median age

Where will I likely work?

37.2%

Annapolis Valley

$13,395 median annual income
29.4%

North Shore

$10,379 median annual income
19.4%

Southern

$17,214 median annual income
9.4%

Halifax

$10,794 median annual income
4.6%

Cape Breton

$11,080 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

90.0%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

2.8%

Manufacturing

1.5%

Educational services

1.0%

Health care and social assistance

1.0%

Arts, entertainment and recreation

What is the age of Employment?

34.0%

15-24

18.0%

55-64

13.0%

35-44

13.0%

45-54

12.0%

25-34

11.0%

65+

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

20.7%

45-54

19.8%

15-24

19.2%

55-64

16.2%

35-44

14.8%

25-34

Top levels of education

38.6%

Less than high school

$9,635 median annual income
32.7%

High school

$14,467 median annual income
10.6%

College Diploma

$15,176 median annual income
9.7%

Trade Certification

$17,563 median annual income
5.3%

Bachelor

$10,461 median annual income

Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining

35.7%

Less than high school

$23,463 median annual income
30.8%

High school

$19,301 median annual income
13.7%

College Diploma

$29,551 median annual income
13.4%

Trade Certification

$31,535 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor

$17,956 median annual income

Education & training

Agriculture - General

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on agricultural research and production. They include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science, animal husbandry and plant cultivation, soil conservation, and agricultural operations like farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Horse Husbandry/Equine Science and Management

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to manage the selection, breeding, care, and maintenance of horses, and horse farms, stables, tracks and related equipment and operations. They include courses in animal science, care, and health, stable and track management, design and operation of facilities and equipment, and related issues like regulations, business management, and logistics.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Landscaping and Groundskeeping

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs prepare students to manage and maintain indoor and/or outdoor ornamental and recreational plants and groundcovers and related designs created by landscape architects, interior designers, enterprise owners or managers, and individual clients. They include courses in applicable principles of horticulture, gardening, plant and soil irrigation and nutrition, turf maintenance, plant maintenance, equipment operation and maintenance, personnel supervision, and purchasing.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Livestock Management

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs apply biological and chemical principles to the production and management of livestock animals and the production and handling of meat and other products. They include courses in animal sciences, range science, nutrition sciences, food science and technology, biochemistry, and related aspects of human and animal health and safety.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Specialized Sales, Merchandising and Marketing Operations - Other

College, Trades, or University Program

This includes any program not listed elsewhere that relates to Specialized Sales, Merchandising and Marketing Operations.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
Halifax, NS
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
East Mountain, NS

Additional resources