Agriculture is inextricably linked to the agri-food industry and together, they form a system that includes food and beverage processing, distribution and wholesale and foodservice industries, to name a few.
Horticulturists act as client consultants. They provide landscape survey and assessment services as well as design, construction and maintenance of gardens, parks, golf courses and other such environments. Moreover, in addition to breeding and cultivating, horticulturalists treat injured and diseased plants and trees.
According to the latest Census of Agriculture, farmers are continually evolving and restructuring in order to meet the demands of the market, thereby reducing the number of farms, however, they are increasing their individual acreage, leaving them less numerous but with increased potential.
Working in agriculture and horticulture…exploring the potential
Even with the number of farms being on the decline, food processing is on the rise in the province’s central region which serves to boost agricultural production. In addition, fewer livestock problems provide hope for a minimal increase in agricultural jobs in the central region of Quebec. The seasonal nature of horticulture limits opportunity to the busiest months, those being from May to October. Increased demand for landscaping and horticultural products and services in recent years has led to a sharp increase in the number of landscape and horticultural technicians, a trend that promises to continue.
Who’s hiring in agriculture/ horticulture?
While employment prospects are considered to be fair, there are opportunities to be had in Montreal and throughout Quebec in:
- Seasonal and specialised work provide good opportunities for immigrant workers
- Post-secondary teaching;
- Technical sales, particularly in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries;
- Consulting and management, in areas such as cultivation, harvesting, disease prevention and marketing, all within businesses and governments.
Challenges in agriculture and horticulture for the coming years
On its own, agriculture and horticulture have not been stable of late[R1] . Unpredictable and extreme weather conditions combined with developments in biofuel, and unstable energy prices have led to huge fluctuations in the prices of agricultural products, and the costs of goods and services. Moreover, for the first time in its history, the province of Quebec is seeing a decline in the number of farms. Lack of manpower is a recurring problem, one that we attempt to solve by hiring foreign workers. Unfortunately, while this solution can be effective in the short term, the real need is for qualified and trained workers who can operate machinery and care for animals. Even automated farms require specialised skills but 50 percent of positions on these farms remain unfilled, compared to 30 percent for positions on farms that require non-specialised skills.
Planning a career change into the field of agriculture/horticulture? Would you like to make a professional contribution to the cultivation and maintenance of both edible and non-edible plant matter?
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