01/29/2014 12:11 EST | Updated 03/31/2014 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan plows ahead with farm training courses to help meet labour needs

YORKTON, Sask. - Saskatchewan is plowing ahead with a training program to help address labour challenges on the farm.

It has launched an agricultural operator pilot program to give practical, hands-on training to people interested in working on Saskatchewan farms.

The first three courses to be delivered at Parkland Regional College in Yorkton will be seeding, spraying and scouting, and harvest.

The province says more courses will be developed for the livestock industry, including haying, beef cattle reproduction and calving, as well as cattle husbandry and handling.

The provincial government says it plans to expand the pilot program to other regional colleges across Saskatchewan.

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says farmers can send current or potential employees to the program, while general labourers without a farm background can get experience to join the industry.

"Producers have indicated that they need more skilled labour for their operations and this program directly responds to their needs," Stewart said Wednesday.