Labor Pains

Computer automation and sophisticated machinery technology has raised the bar for what was once manual labor on today's farms. More than a third of DTN readers say it's a challenge to find qualified staff with today's tight job markets. In this occasional series, DTN details how to recruit, retain and motivate a talented farm labor pool.

Catering to seasonal employees' individual needs helps Kevin Green attract a reliable labor pool. (DTN photo by Jim Patrico)

Labor Pains - 2

Iowa grower Kevin Green shares strategies to keep a waiting list of prospective hires flocking to your farm.

Fringe benefits can be undervalued, so Idaho farmer and business consultant Dick Wittman recommends tabulating pre-tax benefits annually to give owners and employees a complete picture of their compensation. (DTN/The Progressive Farmer photo)

Labor Pains - 3

Be sure your employees value benefits like tax-free housing, health insurance or farm vehicles when calculating their total compensation package.

Endive producer Rich Collins prefers conversing rather than judging during performance reviews with his staff. (Photo courtesy of California Endive Farms)

Labor Pains - 4

Praise increases employees' confidence and willingness to receive constructive criticism, says management consultant Gregorio Billikopf.

Indiana turf farmer Gordon Millar gets more employee gratification by offering a SEP IRA rather than a profit-sharing plan. (DTN photo by Marcia Zarley Taylor)

Labor Pains - 1

On-again, off-again profit-sharing plans don't buy much employee loyalty. Retirement benefits can be an easier way to retain and attract talented employees.

Lori Culler saw how her family's farm operation benefitted from her human resource expertise, prompting her to start a consulting company to help other farm businesses manage their employees. (DTN photo by Elizabeth Williams)

Labor Pains - 2

Not a people person? Maybe you need a human resources consultant to help you handle employees.

Chief financial officers or controllers go beyond paying bills. They should interface with lenders and help you assess key decisions such as what you can afford for rent or when to trade in your combine for a new one. (Photo courtesy of John Deere)

Labor Pains - 3

Outgrown your bookkeeper? Part-time pros help farms that need more sophisticated financial analysis stay on course.