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 are employed on crop, livestock, fruit and vegetable, and specialty farms.

Job Outlook

Limited

Read more

  • Estimate decline employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 15 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

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

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 910 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. However, jobseekers may face some competition for those positions. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. General Farm Workers most commonly work full-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.

The median employment income for 30% of General Farm Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $30,938. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$11.00

Minimum

$13.00

Median

$20.30

Maximum

Annual Pay

$907

Minimum

$12,859

Median

$41,110

Maximum

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

Hourly Pay

$10.85

Minimum

$16.00

Median

$31.88

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 are employed on crop, livestock, fruit and vegetable, and specialty farms.

Job duties

General farm workers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Plant, fertilize, cultivate, spray, irrigate and harvest crops.
  • Feed and tend livestock and poultry.
  • Milk cows.
  • Operate 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. // General farm workers can become specialized in a particular type of crop or livestock production through experience.

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

For this type of work, 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, such as 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 obtained from working on a family farm, may be required for employment. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,990

employed in 2016

73.3%

employed full-time

15.8%

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

84.0%

employed full-time

22.0%

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?

37.3%

Annapolis Valley

29.5%

Northern

19.5%

Southern

9.4%

Halifax

4.6%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

87.3%

Agriculture

2.0%

Forestry and Logging

1.5%

Educational Services

1.5%

Food and Beverage Product Manufacturing

1.0%

Health Care and Social Assistance

What is the age of Employment?

22.3%

55-64

21.3%

15-24

17.0%

45-54

16.0%

35-44

13.3%

25-34

9.6%

65+

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

42.3%

45-54

26.1%

55-64

18.9%

35-44

8.1%

25-34

3.6%

65+

Top levels of education

35.8%

Less than high school

$9,107 median annual income
34.3%

High school

$13,928 median annual income
11.1%

College certificate or diploma

$13,452 median annual income
10.0%

Trades certificate

$17,263 median annual income
5.7%

Bachelor's degree

$10,417 median annual income

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

34.0%

Less than high school

$14,445 median annual income
31.5%

High school

$14,229 median annual income
14.3%

College certificate or diploma

$21,289 median annual income
14.0%

Trades certificate

$19,107 median annual income
4.3%

Bachelor's degree

$15,980 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Agricultural mechanization - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that generally prepares individuals to sell, select, and service agricultural or agribusiness technical equipment and facilities, including computers, specialized software, power units, machinery, equipment structures, and utilities. These programs include courses in agricultural power systems; planning and selecting materials for the construction of support facilities; mechanical practices associated with irrigation and water conservation; erosion control; and agricultural data processing systems.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Agriculture - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general principles and practice of agricultural research and production and that prepares individuals to apply this knowledge to the solution of practical agricultural problems. These programs include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science; animal husbandry and plant cultivation; soil conservation; and agricultural operations such as farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Animal/livestock husbandry and production

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to select, breed, care for, process, and market livestock and small farm animals. These programs include courses in basic animal science, animal nutrition, and animal health as applied to various species and breeds; design and operation of housing, feeding, and processing facilities; and related issues of safety, applicable regulations, logistics, and supply.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Landscaping and groundskeeping

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to manage and maintain indoor and/or outdoor ornamental and recreational plants and groundcovers and related conceptual designs established by landscape architects, interior designers, enterprise owners or managers, and individual clients. These programs 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

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Specialized sales, merchandising and marketing operations - Other

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class comprises any program not listed above that relates to Specialized Sales, Merchandising and Marketing Operations.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture
PO Box 2223
Halifax, NS B3J 3C4
Tel: (902) 424-4560
Fax: (902) 424-4671
Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
60 Research Drive, Perennia Innovation Park
Bible Hill, NS B3L 2R2
Tel: (902) 893-2293
Fax: (902) 893-7063

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

general labourer - farm

Organic Farming

Organic Farming

GENERAL FARM WORKER

ISO: Stable help

Wanted a job working on chicken farm or collecting egg

Farm Labourer

2019 Fruit Farm Labourer

General Farm Worker

Looking for extra helping hand when needed around the barn

View all job postings