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Livestock and Poultry Producer

Livestock and poultry producers own, manage, and direct farm operations. They raise cattle, swine, sheep, poultry, and alternative livestock.

Also Known As

Beef Producer, Farmer, Livestock Specialist, Pork Specialist, Poultry Producer, Rancher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Farmers and Farm Managers (8251) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Farmers and Farm Managers (I011) 
  • 2011 NOC: Managers in agriculture (0821) 
  • 2016 NOC: Managers in agriculture (0821) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Farmers and Farm Managers

2006 NOC: 8251

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising and hiring farm workers; and in determining amounts and kinds of crops to be grown and livestock to be raised, and in purchasing farm machinery, livestock, seed, feed and other supplies

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to plant, cultivate and harvest crops; and in raising and breeding livestock and poultry

OBJECTIVE

Interest in driving - operating and maintaining farm machinery, equipment and buildings

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

The duties of livestock and poultry producers vary depending on which livestock they are raising and for what purpose. They use recognized breeding practices to continually improve herds or flocks. They also:

  • Determine market requirements and select breeding stock
  • Attend animals during birthing if required
  • Feed and water animals during each stage of their growth and development (most often an automated process)
  • Control the spread of disease and parasites through biosecurity, vaccination, and and by separating sick animals from the rest
  • Maintain sanitary conditions and ventilation in barns and other enclosures, and manage waste (manure)
  • Maintain pasture or grazing lands to ensure animals have enough feed
  • Purchase, produce, process, and store livestock feed
  • Provide humane handling and transport for livestock
  • Take part in developing and implementing animal welfare and quality assurance programs
  • Use computer applications to keep production, breeding, and financial records
  • Evaluate marketing alternatives (packing plants, public stockyards, or rural auction markets)
  • Maintain enclosures and handling systems
  • Repair and maintain barns, buildings, equipment, and machinery

They may produce, harvest, and store feed crops. They also may recruit and supervise staff.

As well, breeders of purebred animals:

  • Keep detailed records of identification, performance, and pedigree, which provide the basis for genetic improvements and sale prices
  • Develop screening programs to continually improve the herd or flock by culling lower-quality animals
  • Promote their animals to increase market opportunities

In automated operations, livestock and poultry producers must clean and sterilize equipment. They must also monitor and repair the equipment as needed.

Livestock producers usually specialize in one type of operation.

Beef cattle producers own or manage three types of operations:

  • Commercial cow-calf operations raise calves for their meat and market them through private sale, public stockyards, or rural auction markets.
  • Purebred cow-calf operations raise specific breeds of purebred cattle to sell as breeding stock to commercial herds.
  • Feedlot operations feed calves or yearlings to a standard level of finish (fatness) before selling them to packing plants for slaughter.

Swine producers own or manage two types of operations:

  • Commercial swine producers keep breeding stock to produce piglets or buy them from other producers. They then raise the piglets to market weight.
  • Purebred swine breeders raise purebred hogs for sale as breeding stock to commercial swine producers.

Poultry producers own or manage three types of operations:

  • Table egg producers ensure the steady production of high-quality eggs for consumption.
  • Hatching egg producers ensure the steady production of high-quality eggs for hatcheries.
  • Commercial chicken producers and commercial turkey producers raise chickens and turkeys for meat. They market their birds to processing plants across Canada.

Sheep farmers or ranchers own or manage three types of operations:

  • Purebred breeders supply the sheep industry with top-quality breeding stock of various breeds.
  • Commercial lamb producers maintain a flock of ewes to produce wool. They also raise lambs for slaughter.
  • Feedlot lamb producers feed lambs obtained from commercial herds. They raise them on special rations until they are ready for slaughter.

Alternative livestock producers own or manage non-traditional types of livestock operations:

  • Breeding stock producers raise animals to supply industry with quality breeding males and females.
  • Other producers raise animals for slaughter or for the collection of byproducts.
  • Certified organic operations produce livestock and poultry according to the general principles and management standards of the organic production system.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Livestock and poultry producers spend a great deal of time outdoors in all types of weather. The hours of work are long and at times irregular. Livestock need daily care. Therefore, producers must arrange alternate care before leaving their operations more than briefly.

Automation and mechanization have helped to make the work less tedious and physically demanding. However, heavy labour sometimes is required.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Livestock and poultry producers need:

  • Organizational and business skills
  • Patience and a positive attitude
  • Personal commitment and self-discipline
  • Resourcefulness
  • Tolerance for financial risk
  • The ability to work independently

They should enjoy taking responsibility for their operations. They should like taking a methodical approach to their work. They should be comfortable operating machinery and equipment.

 

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Managers in agriculture

2011 NOC: 0821

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 15 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 04, 2021 and Sep 28, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Tractor
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Truck
Maintain farm machinery, equipment and buildings
Perform general farm duties
Personal Suitability: Organized
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Judgement
Monitoring animal health
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

Livestock and poultry producers must have a working knowledge of:

  • Animal behaviour, nutrition, breeding, and genetics
  • Animal or bird health and veterinary medicine
  • Herd or flock management and performance indicators
  • Marketing and market alternatives
  • Risk-management tools for pricing and production

They must know where to obtain or how to grow the feed their livestock need. They must know how to manage feeding. They should know when and how to market their product. They should be able to keep accurate financial and production records.

Individuals acquire the required knowledge and experience by working on farms and taking related education programs.

The Government of Alberta offers the Green Certificate Program. The program provides apprenticeship-style training. It combines hands-on farm mentorship with formal education.

The program is free and available to students at all Alberta high schools. Various specializations, such as livestock and poultry producer, are offered at each level. Graduates of the Level I Green Certificate Program are certified as farm production technicians. They may earn credits toward their high school diploma for each specialization they complete. Level II (farm production supervisor) and III (agribusiness manager) Green Certificates are also available. They are meant for people interested in a career in agriculture.

To participate in the Green Certificate Program, trainees must be at least 15 years of age and in grade 10, 11, or 12. The training takes about a year. That allows trainees to experience all four seasons on a farm.

For more information, students may visit the Green Certificate Program website or ask their guidance counsellor.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

Some operations are controlled by government-regulated quotas. Producers must obtain a quota before they can market poultry.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Some livestock and poultry producers own their own operations; others work as farm managers. Many people enter the business as labourers or technicians. They may also enter through membership in a family-owned partnership or company. There are enormous capital and operating costs involved in getting into livestock production. It is good for those without a farm background to learn all aspects of farming operations.

Individuals seeking work on farms should contact a local Human Resources Skills Development Canada office. Farm work may be seasonal or casual. On livestock operations, farm supervisors and machinery operators may be hired year-round.

Experienced producers with formal training may move into related positions. They may become livestock services representatives or agricultural commodity inspectors.

Livestock and poultry producers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 0821: Managers in agriculture. In Alberta, 97% of people employed in this classification work in the Agricultural (pdf) industry.

The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Agriculture industry)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • Size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the 0821: Managers in agriculture occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of -0.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, -219 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Annual incomes for self-employed livestock and poultry producers vary greatly. Factors include the type of operation, market trends, and operating expenses.

Managers negotiate their own contracts and salaries.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Managers in agriculture

2016 NOC: 0821
Average Wage
$33.59
Per Hour
Average Salary
$73,729.00
Per Year
Average Hours
42.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 0821 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.23 $48.08 $26.81 $25.64
Overall $19.38 $57.69 $33.59 $28.00
Top $23.08 $63.46 $37.90 $32.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Agriculture

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
18%
18%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
37%
37%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Beef Producers website: www.albertabeef.org

Alberta Chicken Producers (ACP) website: www.chicken.ab.ca

Alberta Pork website: www.albertapork.com

Alberta Turkey Producers (ATP) website: www.albertaturkey.com

Beef is Your Future website: beefcareers.weebly.com

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) website: www.cattle.ca

Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) website: eggs.ab.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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