A new report highlights the importance of agriculture and agri-food employment to the region’s economy.

Commissioned by the Workforce Development Board / Local Employment Planning Council (WDB/LEPC), the report is designed to identify best practices and recommend local strategies to address employment issues, challenges and opportunities throughout the organization’s catchment area.

Overall, local agriculture and agri-food and related employment sectors comprise almost 20,000 jobs in the WDB/LEPC region, with nearly one-in-five total jobs reliant on the agri-business sector.

“Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland are very active and dependent on the sector as an economic driver, while Haliburton with a small and active food sector, is significantly less impacted due to both geography and population,” the report reads.

“This study included a comparative analysis that indicates the WDB/LEPC region had slower growth in the agricultural and agri-food sector than other Ontario regions over the past decade however, there is a forecasted balancing out trend for increased opportunities overall, validating the need to address issues and concerns in the local labour force.”

It identifies some high-growth occupations as well as those in decline, as well as highlighting challenges faced by employers.

“Locally, the key issues of concern identified were lack of workers with required skills in the agriculture and agri-food sector, a lack of awareness of the sector as a viable and rewarding employment opportunity, and the rising costs of farmland and agri-business costs to retain and encourage new food producer and processor employers,” the report reads.

The report concludes with three recommendations, including the development of a regional agri-food labour support network.

Local consulting firm, Amer and Associates Economic Development, was engaged for this research project, which was funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

To download the report in English, click HERE.

To download the report in French, click HERE.