Ontario agriculture companies say they face a worker shortage.
University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus is one of the few places in Ontario to offer an agricultural education. But officials there said it can't graduate students fast enough.
"There's stronger demand then there are graduates, so in the first six months, everyone is snapped up," said Ken McEwan, a production economics and agribusiness professor at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. "There are more jobs than we have students."
McEwan said that demand will only continue to grow.
"If you think about the demand for food production in the next few years, and the ability to feed the world, and the technology that's here, it's globally focused, it's competitive, it's technology driven. It's a great place to be for the next few years," McEwan said.
Current students at Ridgetown said they feel they've made a good choice, because friends that went into other industries aren't faring so well.
"A lot of them are in engineering or in a teaching position and whatnot, and the opportunities that come from that - there's not a whole lot," said Branden Domm.
McEwan says agriculture companies competing for top students are offering perks such as more vacation time and more money.
An overabundance of graduates in other fields are fighting it out for a scarce number of jobs. But in the agriculture industry, it's just the opposite. Qualified workers can be hard to find ,said one agricultural businessman.
Bob Devolder runs a farm, a seed processing facility and builds grain bins northwest of Chatham. Whichever job he's hiring for — even general labour — agriculture experience is an asset and tough to find.
"That's always been a struggle; to find good qualified people. It seems to be difficult," he said. "The customer will sometimes approach and wonder why this is like that, or how can we change this, or I don't like that, so if [an employee] can understand what they're talking about, helps."