Tag Archives: labor

Chris Blanchard knows a lot about managing farm staff

The second workshop in our LABOR MANAGEMENT  FOR FARMERS series is entitled, “Run Your Team: Tools for Managing and Motivating Employees on the Farm” and it’s going to be taught by someone who knows an awful lot about the subject.

Chris Blanchard
Chris Blanchard’s workshops, writing, and consulting throughout the country have gained a reputation for fresh approaches, down-to-earth information, and honesty.

In his fourteen years of farming at Rock Spring Farm, Chris Blanchard has managed over 100 employees, made hundreds of mistakes, and changed the work environment from “The Yelling Farm” into a place he was proud to manage. His workshops are high-energy, fast paced and media-rich. His presentations have gained a reputation for fresh approaches, down-to-earth information, honesty and humor.

Below is an excerpt from a post on Chris’ “Purple Pitchfork” blog:

Ten Thoughts about Employees

  1. Happy employees are productive employees – and productive employees are happy employees.
  2. The right tools plus the right people equals maximum productivity.
  3. The boss sets the tone and sets an example.
  4. The boss is never tired. Even if she is.
  5. Be certain going in that what you say you want is what you really want. If you have a partner, discuss this with them.
  6. Some people are fast. Some are not. You probably can’t do much to make dramatic changes, so figure it out before you hire. After you hire, either find a way to deal with what you’ve got, or change what you’ve got. Only two choices.
  7. Be clear about goals and be clear about standards- and make those standards quantifiable. 50 bunches per hour. No more than 3 cercospora leaf spots on a Swiss chard leaf.
  8. Be certain. Don’t tell people to “do their best”… describe best. Don’t make a big deal about changes in procedures- it makes even good employees think they know as much as you.
  9. Poor performance by one employee drags management and labor down.
  10. If you have a partner, be certain you agree on goals and procedures. Anything else encourages dissent and confusion.

More “Management” posts on Purple Pitchfork »
More info on NOFA Vermont’s HR workshops for farmers »

Human Resources and Labor Management for Farmers

IMGP2591Every producer knows that their team can make or break their business. In addition to being a critical element of any agricultural business, labor also typically comprises the greatest business expense. However many farmers are drawn to their work because they love the production process, not because they enjoy — or even have experience or skills — managing people. Yet management remains one of the key elements to building a successful business.

NOFA-VT, Vermont Technical College and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture are offering in-depth skill building workshops on labor management and human resources this fall and winter. Farmers and producers will have ample opportunity to consider their approaches to hiring, motivating, communicating and delegating. You wouldn’t run your equipment without regular and necessary maintenance, would you? Well, neither should you continue employing staff without reviewing your policies, leadership style and pay scale, to name a few topics.

Next week, from the Vermont Agency of Ag, is a full-day workshop called “Build a Strong Workforce on the Farm.” This workshop is being held in Burlington on November 10 and in White River Junction on November 12. Click here to view the Agency’s flier.

Starting in January, NOFA Vermont will be offering a series of three half-day trainings on Labor Management and Human Resources for Farmers. Each workshop will be held at two different locations to make them more available to all Vermont producers. We will also be holding two additional workshops at the Winter Conference.

Take the time to invest in your most valuable and expensive tool — your crew!