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Labor Ready Project Offering Two Upcoming Events

The Cornell Small Farms Program’s “Labor Ready Farmer” project works to ensure that new farmers and advancing employees in our region can access high-quality information, supportive networks and proven tactics essential to effective management of labor. These efforts support new farmers scaling up and Latino agricultural employees to move up the ladder of management on existing farms.

two people standing in a grain field

2018 Small Grains Management Field Day at Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora, NY. Courtesy of Cornell University.

Now open for registration are two hands-on “Farm Management Master Classes.” These two-day intensive workshops will give farm owners and managers the skills they need to effectively hire, train and supervise farm employees. Managing people is a skill that can be learned, much like operating equipment, or growing crops.
An Eastern NY workshop will be held March 5 and 6 in Hyde Park, NY. A Western NY workshop will be held March 13 and 14 in Rochester, NY.

The master class costs $50, which includes lunch both days, and spots are limited. Free registration for Ready Labor Farmer Technical Assistance Grant recipients. If you are working on management improvements on your farm and are interested in this grant program, visit the Smart Farming Teams section of the Labor Ready project page.

The “Effective Management of Farm Employees Master Class” is led by Richard Stup, director of the Cornell University Ag Workforce Development Program.Richard focuses on human resource management, enhancing employee engagement, regulatory compliance, and leadership development at the farm level.
Included in the two-day workshops’ agendas:

Moving From Individual Performer to Supervisor – “People don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers.” The skills that make someone a top performer on the farm do not necessarily translate to being a great manager of people but supervisors are often selected from the pool of high performers in an organization to reward them for their contribution to the organization, without consideration of their people management skills or aptitude. This session will help you identify the skills needed to be a great supervisor of people, and how you can develop and apply those skills on your farm.

Overview of Labor Laws Affecting Farm Managers – Every farm manager should have a basic understanding of farm labor laws and regulations. This brief session will cover the key programs and identify resources to help you stay in compliance.

Onboarding New Employees – Onboarding is a relatively new term that describes the process of bringing new employees into the business. The goal of onboarding is to have safe, productive, and engaged farm employees, from day one. Learn to create an employee onboarding program for your farm with clearly assigned responsibilities, designed training experiences, full regulatory compliance, and basic evaluation. You will also learn about the onboarding program being developed by a team of ag industry professionals and how your farm can participate.

Performance Management – This is where the rubber hits the road in management. One of the hardest challenges of management is effectively communicating performance expectations to employees and ensuring that those expectations are carried out. This session will cover effective communication, developing training and assessment programs that get your employees off to a good start and providing timely and supportive feedback to get the best out of your staff. Tools we will discuss include using standard operating procedures, other communication strategies, training resources and feedback and incentives.
Learn more about the workshop and register on the event pages: Eastern NY workshop and Western NY workshop.

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Cornell Small Farms Program’s communications specialist. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.

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