Dear colleague,
The Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick is surveying New Brunswick farmers to assess challenges related to workforce recruitment and retention. Job vacancies are on the rise in New Brunswick’s agriculture sector and, in addition, 35 percent of the 7,000 workers in the sector are over the age of 55 and most will be retiring in the next 10 years or so. Further, 57 percent of farmers are over the age of 55 while only five percent of farmers in New Brunswick have a succession plan in place (as of the 2016 Census). As a further challenge the agriculture sector is heavily reliant on part time/seasonal workers. Over 60 percent of workers in this sector do not work full time/full year. Finally, while females account for nearly half of the total workers in farming (47 percent), they only represent 22 percent of farmers (farm operators).

The good news is the economic contribution from agriculture is growing rapidly. Between 2008 and 2018, agricultural GDP (gross domestic product) rose 61 percent in New Brunswick and there is potential for future growth. However, if farmers cannot address the demands of the agricultural workforce in the coming years, it will hamper the sector’s ability to continue this growth.

Your input is critical to assisting the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, the provincial government and other partners in the development of a workforce strategy for the agriculture sector. This is not just another survey to get your opinions. We will be using the results of this survey to craft specific strategies meant to help address workforce shortages now and into the future.

The survey should take only 15-20 minutes. Your participation in the survey is entirely voluntary and strictly anonymous. You will not have to identify yourself, all information collected will remain confidential and the results will be presented in aggregate form and will not identify respondents.

We thank you in advance for taking the time to respond and for contributing to the development of the future workforce strategy.