Bridging the Labour Gap: Innovative Hiring Strategies for Farmers


Operating a successful farm or growing operation is not solely about understanding plants and the soil. It is also about understanding people – your employees. Mastering the process of recruitment, placement, and retention of talent can be seen as a reflection of the stages in successful farming: from preparing the land to the bountiful harvest.


Preparing the Land: Getting the Industry Insights

As a farmer or grower, you enrich the land before planting any seeds. When it comes to recruitment, enrich your understanding of the industry and the necessary skills for each role. Whether you’re looking for a farm hand, an equipment technician, or a crop specialist, knowing the right blend of technical and soft skills lays the groundwork for identifying potential talent.


Sowing Seeds: Building Relationships

Next, you sow seeds into the nurtured soil. In recruitment, this means cultivating relationships. Building strong ties with local schools, agricultural organisations, and your existing workforce can sow the seeds of a vibrant network of potential candidates. Just as you persistently sow seeds for recurring harvests, your talent acquisition strategy should involve ongoing networking.


Nurturing Growth: Securing the Right Talent

Once the seeds are in the ground, your focus shifts to nurturing their growth. In recruitment, this phase translates to securing the right person for your operation. Present an enticing offer that goes beyond the wage. Show them the potential for growth, the balance of work and life you uphold, and the supportive culture of your operation. Just as you create optimal conditions for crops to flourish, strive to make your offer stand out amongst any competing ones.


Harvesting and Beyond: Nurturing Your Employees

The fruits of your labour come at harvest time. Similarly, in recruitment, the reward is a successful hire. However, your job doesn’t end there. Just as farming continues beyond the harvest, so should your engagement with your employees. Comprehensive onboarding, supportive mentorship, and opportunities for continuous learning and development are key to maintaining a strong and productive workforce.


Cultivating Success in Your Farm or Growing Operation

Every step in the process of running a thriving farm or growing operation is vital, just like every stage in the recruitment and placement process. By understanding the industry’s needs, fostering strong relationships, securing the finest talent, and continually nurturing that talent post-hire, you can harvest the fruits of success. The key to a successful operation, much like a fruitful harvest, lies in the constant care and dedication at each step of the process.


Your crew is the heart and soul of your farming operation. To attract, hire, and retain top talent, you need a proven strategy that works. We’ve simplified the process into an easy-to-follow checklist. From identifying roles and skills to ongoing employee engagement, this guide will walk you through the process of cultivating a winning crew. Use it as your roadmap to success, ticking off each task as you move from candidate sourcing to happy, productive employees.


This isn’t just a to-do list – it’s your recipe for a thriving farm or growing operation.


Farmers & Growers
Recruitment Checklist:


1. Understand Your Needs: Identify the roles needed in your operation and the skills required for each position. Include both technical skills and soft skills like teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability.


2. Build Relationships:

  • Local Schools: Connect with agricultural programs at local schools to access fresh talent.
  • Industry Organisations: Attend events or join online communities related to farming and agriculture. Networking can uncover potential candidates.
  • Existing Workforce: Your employees may have connections in the industry. Encourage them to refer potential candidates.


3. Create a Compelling Job Description:

  • Role Specifics: Clearly outline the role’s duties, necessary skills, and qualifications.
  • Operation Overview: Describe your farm or operation, its culture, and core values.
  • Growth Opportunities: Highlight potential for advancement or professional development.
  • Work-Life Balance: Mention any policies or practices that promote a healthy work-life balance.


4. Advertise Open Roles:

  • Job Boards: Post the job on agricultural job boards or general job sites.
  • Social Media: Share the job posting on your operation’s social media accounts and amongst agricultural and job related groups.
  • Network: Leverage your professional network to spread the word.


5. Screen and Interview:

  • Resume Screening: Review applications and select candidates with the required skills and experience.
    Interviews: Conduct interviews to assess the candidate’s fit with the role and your operation’s culture.
  • Reference Check: Contact references to verify the candidate’s qualifications and work ethic.


6. Present an Offer: Prepare an enticing job offer that includes a competitive salary and any benefits. Clearly outline opportunities for growth and development.


7. Onboarding:

  • Orientation: Provide a comprehensive orientation to familiarise the new hire with your operation and team.
  • Training: Ensure proper training is provided for the new hire to perform their role safely and effectively.
  • Mentorship: If possible, assign a mentor to guide the new hire during their initial weeks.


8. Continuous Employee Engagement:

  • Performance Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to provide constructive feedback and discuss any concerns.
  • Professional Development: Offer opportunities for learning and development.
  • Recognise Achievements: Acknowledge and reward employees’ hard work and accomplishments.


Remember, successful recruitment and retention is a continuous process. Be patient and persistent, and you’ll cultivate a team that helps your operation thrive.


Or print out your checklist here:

Farmers and Growers Recruitment Checklist

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