The Windsor-Essex County’s agri-business sector is dynamic and has been identified as one of the region’s nine most promising sectors for business and employment growth.
This report is an attempt to describe the state of this important sector and provide information about how people can prepare themselves for the careers of the future.
Industry leaders interviewed for the project identified some concerns, but are positive overall about the short to medium term employment prospects for the sector. They also identified a number of areas for potential growth and provided suggestions for developing the workforce and the industry. These suggestions include providing better information to students about the opportunities in the industry, continuing to upgrade educational programs that support the sector and strengthening the local food infrastructure.
What is agri-business?
While farms and greenhouses are at the centre of the agri-business sector, they are part of a broad network of firms, agencies and institutions that play important roles. Some companies contribute to farm operations by manufacturing, constructing or distributing farm equipment, providing supplies and delivering services. At the other end of the spectrum are companies that process, store and distribute the resulting farm commodities through numerous channels to domestic and foreign consumers.
Examples of the types of Essex County companies that contribute to farm operations:
- Seed suppliers
- Feed suppliers
- Fertilizer and pesticide suppliers
- Entomologists Research scientists
- Construction companies
- Farm equipment manufacturers and retailers
- Staffing organizations
- Professional services such as law, accounting and marketing
- Plumbers Electricians Stationary engineers
- Packing sheds that sort, package and distribute greenhouse produce
Examples of farm operations that are found in Essex County:
- Field crops
- Livestock farms
- Mushroom farms
- Ornamental crops (sod farms, tree and shrub nurseries)
- Plant propagators
Examples of organizations that process and distribute agricultural commodities to the public:
- Food processors
- Farmers’ markets
- Farm gate stands
The purpose of this report is to:
- Provide up-to-date local information on the state of the sector and its workforce needs;
- Help educate students, the unemployed and those wishing to pursue a career change about opportunities and skill requirements in agri-business;
- Provide the unemployed, underemployed and those wishing to pursue a career change with relevant information about how to find employment or start a business in the agri-business sector; and,
- Provide information to education and training institutions to assist them in developing educational offerings.