Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture





Strong farms. Sustainable workforce. Sound future.

The AgSector Program supports farms by providing access to the tools and resources they need to ensure a sustainable workforce.  Our work is focused on the needs of employers and workers, and actively promotes agriculture as a rewarding career.

Your Resource for Attracting and Retaining a Sustainable Workforce

  • Delivering human resources support and best practices.
  • Navigating labour legislation and programs.
  • Supporting succession planning through tools and resources.
  • Promoting innovative approaches to workforce challenges.
  • Fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion within the industry.
  • Strengthening the workforce through skills development, education and training, and career promotion.

How we do it

  • Deliver training and workshops
  • Develop templates, tools, and best practices for use on farm
  • Keep you up to date through newsletters, websites and social media
  • Work with stakeholders and industry partners
  • Promote agricultural careers to Nova Scotians

HR Best Practices Series

Farm business owners face countless responsibilities and demands on their time. Your business depends on the people who work for you, but managing and supporting your workforce can be a challenging and complex task. To provide some guidance, we are delivering a six-week series of HR Best Practices that employers may wish to consider, to nurture good employee relations while remaining compliant with legislation.

First, what are “HR Best Practices”?

Best practices are a set of Human Resources Management processes and actions that work universally. Use of best practices can lead to improved business performance, increasing productivity and profitability. It is no secret that the agriculture industry has many unique needs, and the AgSector Program helps to consider those needs and provide custom industry resources.

Human resource activities fall into six core silos that every farm business should manage:

Week 1 – Recruitment and Hiring
Week 2 – Compensation and Benefits
Week 3 – Employee Relations
Week 4 – Training and Development
Week 5 – Health and Safety
Week 6 – Labour Legislation Compliance


Education & Training

Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC) AgriHR Toolkit
The AgriHR Toolkit is designed to address the unique needs of the agriculture industry. Based on years of research and field testing conducted in Canada and internationally, this toolkit offers everything you need to improve your people-management skills and develop key resources to help you find, retain, and support your employees. Contact us today for a discount code to get free access!
Farm Technician Apprenticeship
The development of the Farm Tech Apprenticeship stems from a NSFA policy which identifies the lack of skilled labour as a critical issue for Nova Scotia farms. The Farm Technician trade designation was approved by Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency Board in February 2020.  Once the course is developed and launched, farms will be able to enroll existing employees that are interested in enhancing their skills. Apprenticeship is a form of post-secondary education for both young and mature individuals who want to be certified to work in a skilled trade. It is a combination of on‑the‑job and technical training where skilled trades’ professionals (certified journeypersons) pass on knowledge and skills to learners (apprentices). Click here to learn more about the Farm Technician Trade.
Workplace Education
Give the NSFA office a call at 1-902-893-2293 to learn when and where you can access these programs.
NS Skills Online
SkillsonlineNS is a partnership between Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education, CBDC & Bluedrop that gives every resident of the province access to thousands of FREE online courses on the most important workplace topics to improve their skills and career prospects.

Agriculture On-Farm Student Bursary

The 2020 Agriculture On-Farm Student Bursary will provide bursaries of up to $1,000 for eligible post-secondary students who work on registered Nova Scotia farms for the summer of 2020. The bursary program helps Nova Scotia students get a foot in the door to careers in agriculture and develop skills and knowledge to work in this field. Check out details here.

HR & Labour

Youth Employment Programs – COVID-19 Adaptations
Job Postings
The NSFA Job Board is THE source for employment opportunities in the agriculture and agri-food industry in Nova Scotia!  If you have an employment opportunity on your farm or agri-business, please send us the details ( and we will post it here for you. Employees can also register to receive alerts of new postings.

Step up to the Plate–Help feed Canadians” is a national initiative to guide you to agriculture and agri-food employment resource sites across Canada.

Mentor Ability Program
A diverse workforces is a strong workforce!  Help lead inclusion in the workplace.  Read more about the Mentor Ability Canada Project.
Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
Hire a temporary worker through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Hire a temporary worker through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Succession Planning

Farm Succession Planning
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.  We all know that when it comes to planting and harvesting!  Your farm’s legacy is worth protecting and deserves a smart succession plan.  You only get one chance to transition so it is key to understand the best approach and avoid potential pitfalls. Although every situation is unique, there are common steps toward the goal of a successful transition of a farm business.  Starting the conversation can be hard.  Here are some planning tools to help:

NSFA’s Farm Succession Portal is Canada’s first interactive succession planning tool for farms.

MNP Transition Smart

FCC Transition Planning

CAHRC Toolkit

In the absence of family members Farm Link connects farms and farm seekers.


For employers wanting help hiring and training your staff so you can grow your business, this guide breaks down what provincial programs can do for you.

Co-Operative Education Incentive
The Co-Op Education Incentive (CO-OP) provides wage assistance to organizations that offer career-related work experiences for university and college co-operative students. The program helpers employers higher post secondary students for co-operative education work placements. Students must be enrolled in a Nova Scotia university or college that has a co-operative education program.
Graduate to Opportunity
Offered by LAE, Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) aims to build a stronger workforce which will help retain young people graduating in nova Scotia with a salary incentive that will open more jobs. By applying to this subsidiary the Nova Scotia government will cover a portion of the graduates salary for the first two years.
Innovate to Opportunity
Innovate to Opportunity (ITO) provides an incentive to hire recent masters and PhD grads for jobs focused on research and innovation. The program is aimed to help businesses become more innovative and help prepare to expand exports by creating new positions for recent well-educated graduates.
Apprenticeship START Program
The START program aims to encourage employers to hire Nova Scotians who require work experience who are ready-to-work. Financial Incentives will be provided based on type of employment and skill level of the employee.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has programs and services to help Canadian farmers and businesses produce the best possible food and agriculture products. Through our programs and services we support innovation, sustainable farming, business development, managing risk, trade and market development.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
ACOA programs has a number of Business development programs focused in different sectors such as technology adoption, market development, innovation and productivity of business skills initiative. The productivity and Business Skills Initiative provides financial assistance up to 75 per cent of the eligible costs.  The ACOA programs would be beneficial to Atlantic Canadian businesses that are small to medium sized that are in need of efficiency, product quality and environmental management plans.
National Research Council of Canada
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

For further information or to discuss your farm’s workforce needs, contact the AgSector Program Coordinator today.

The AgSector Program is funded in part through the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Workplace Initiatives Branch.


  1. Nova Scotia Young Farmers AGM

    December 2 @ 7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  2. Farm Transition Webinar

    December 2 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  3. Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture AGM

    December 3 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
  4. Virtual Happy Hour

    December 3 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  5. Mental Fitness 101: Foundational Elements to Building a Mental Fitness Plan

    December 4 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm


7 Atlantic Central Drive
East Mountain, N.S.
B6L 2Z2

Phone – 902-893-2293
Fax – 902-893-7063