Moving into Agriculture: My experience moving from Oil and Gas to Agriculture

Starting your career and trying to find that one stepping stone is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Read Justis Grimsrud’s experience of moving from one industry to the next. 

When you enter the world of employment, there is always that uncertainty that looms over you. Will I be able to break through, or will I become another statistic? We have all been in this position—trying to find that one opportunity that will kick-start our careers. It is not easy, but it is also not impossible.

Two years ago, I made a big career move. It was at the peak of the pandemic; there was a drop in oil and gas prices; I was laid off from my job as a heavy-duty mechanic. It was a good-paying career in the oil and gas sector. But as they say, life is like a winding road, with a whole lot of stops and roadblocks. It’s how you deal with them that will produce the next right turn.”

My journey at Nelson Motors and Equipment was that turning point for me. I’m now in my 4th and final year of my Heavy Duty Mechanic Apprenticeship. I have an excellent work-life balance and enjoy what I do. I’m working towards something, and that feels good. 

I was determined to make the most of this opportunity to learn new skills and make a good living while improving my family farm. We have a small organic grain farm near Torquay, Saskatchewan. I knew that I could apply what I learn here at Nelson Motors and Equipment to help fix equipment back at the farm.  

It has been two years since I started working here at Nelson Motors and Equipment, and when I look back, the time has flown by. I’ve been able to put my knowledge into practice, but I also have learned things that you would not find in a textbook. I work with an excellent team who are approachable and friendly. They all have a get-it-done type of attitude, and I really like that. It’s a bring solutions, not problems type of atmosphere.  

I’m also newly engaged and really looking forward to our future. I love that this job has so much flexibility. I know when I’ll be working my regular hours so my family can rely on me. And there is even an opportunity for overtime during the busy season. And, thanks to the flexibility of Nelson Motors and Equipment, if I need an afternoon off to be with my family, my supervisor and I can work out an arrangement – its flexible like that. And it’s a win, win for both of us. I’m a happy employee, and they have a dedicated team member. 

My regular day consists of arriving at the shop shortly before 8 am. I grab a coffee, look at my daily task list, get parts organized for my priority tasks, and get to it. Sometimes I’ll work on one piece of equipment for one day or even many days. And other times, I could work on ten pieces of machinery. I like that too; my days constantly change. 

I can obtain and refine new skills too. We learn right from John Deere about their new equipment, tools and technology. It keeps our skills sharp and helps us finish the work right and on time. Some shops can cut corners to save the customer a penny; we like to ensure that when we do the work right —it can save them thousands. 

Advice for those wanting stability in their future by switching to the Ag Industry: 

Take the chance—a person willing to go the extra mile is usually the one who reaps the most. Life isn’t always about the money; it’s about living too. If what you’re doing right now is working to work, try working to live. 

If you want to make the change Nelson Motors and Equipment is always looking for skilled team members. Find out more here: Careers