Employee Management

Planning for success: Team dynamics and herd management

Prioritize both animal and human welfare to retain great teammates and maintain a high-quality, safe and efficient production facility.

Dairy Farm

Give Your Farm Employees the Boost They Need

Reshaping how we view training can give employees the boost they need. Penn State Dairy Extension encourages producers to view their training programs not as “once and done” and instead take a broader view to reenergize and empower the workforce.

Manager with tablet

Goal-driven management takes dairies to the next level

Using measurable benchmarks; maintaining a goal-driven management culture; and identifying a set of key advisers and employees to regularly review cow health, production and forage metrics are three steps dairies can take to improve financial performance.

Train the people behind the cows

Producing high-quality milk is a labor intense job, yet it is a product that doesn’t receive a high payment compared to other industries. Although pay is a high motivator to stay at a job, employees are often more successful and retained at higher rates if training is offered. Training helps satisfy that need to develop and challenge their own set of skills and makes them feel a sense of ownership to the farm. In addition to training, how can the dairy industry stay competitive in this tight labor market?

Overcoming Dairy’s People Problem

“It is taking 20% longer to get new leaders in place, with 30% higher compensation, including extra considerations such as work location, flexibility, bonuses and equity and on top of that companies have to decide 50% faster since top talent have as many as 3 offers.” David Turner of Kincannon & Reed, the leading search firm dedicated to Food & Agribusiness, recently said this on the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action podcast.


Effective Employee Management

The average number of dairy cows per farm continues to increase.

Ironically, as dairy profit margins become tighter, many farms add cows and production to generate minimum levels of income needed to stay in business.

As cow numbers increase, so do labor needs and as a result, most dairy farm owners find themselves in the position of managing employees.

Laying the Foundation For Your Team's Future Success

Employee onboarding, specifically on dairy operations, can help reduce employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction and commitment, increase employee safety and increase farm productivity. However, onboarding is more than a quick orientation; it should be an in-depth overview of the entire business process.

Dairy Farm Labor: Cost, efficiency, and change from 2011 to 2021

The Cornell University Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management has released a new publication that summarizes cost, efficiency and changes associated with hired labor on New York dairy farms from 2011 to 2021. We understand that New York is not Michigan. However, the states are very similar in dairy production and labor conditions. We feel the data collected, analyzed and reported is valuable and pertinent to a Michigan dairy producer.

Use Data to Give Feedback to Employees

Recording data is an essential part of dairying and comes in many forms, depending on the task and management style implemented on the operation. Recorded data can also be important for employee management – specifically for feedback.

On-farm employee trainings available for Michigan dairy farms

The MSU Extension dairy team has multiple employee training programs available for dairy farms in Michigan.

Employee development and education are key components of successful farm management. Training is necessary so new employees learn how to perform their jobs, but re-training of more experienced employees also has benefits, such as preventing protocol drift. Additionally, providing training opportunities for employees can improve the work environment and reduce employee turnover.

Would your dairy farm owner team be a winning sports team?

I am a sports fan. We have season tickets to three University of Minnesota sports (oops, not this year). In addition to enjoying the games, I have the occupational hazard of studying how the coaches are leading the teams.

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P.O. Box 394
Plainwell, MI 49080