In the News: The Relationship Between a Developed Workforce and a Successful Business

Small farms

Graduates of the Western New York Master Class for Bilingual Orchard Crew Members toured the Plant Science greenhouse during a day-long event on Cornell’s campus.
Josh Manser / Small Farms Program

In the spring 2019 edition of their magazine In Good Tilth, organic farming nonprofit Oregon Tilth published an article  on the importance of worker development in agriculture featuring the Cornell Small Farms Program and our own Nicole Waters.

The article discusses the challenges of getting farmers to invest in worker development — the biggest factor being a perceived lack of time to invest in training and hiring with paperwork, planning, and harvests to be completed. However, the article goes on to discuss how developing leadership and team-building skills in staff members can create motivation and really pay off.

Nicole Waters, our Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator, discussed how to acknowledge the actual needs of staff in a labor-focused environment and learning how to support them. Most importantly, she noted how to make sure that staff feels they are being trusted and invested in.

Waters said this communication from management tells staff: “I trust you, and hired you because I believe you are the best possible person for the job, and now I want you to have the bandwidth you need to succeed.”

The article also discusses the training opportunities offered by the Cornell Small Farms Program for both established farmers looking to expand their business, and developing skills that foster greater upward mobility in Latinx employees.

Read the full article to learn more about how investing in worker development really pays off.

Investment: 101, Oregon Tilth, May 21, 2019.

Claire Morrow

Claire is preparing to start her senior year as a Plant Science major in CALS. She is concentrating in sustainable plant production, and hopes to one day work in extension to help farmers implement sustainable practices that are both economically feasible for them and good for the planet. She is from a small town in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where she learned to appreciate nature and great farm fresh food. She is excited to have the opportunity to both help out with Small Farms programming and get her hands dirty on the research farm this summer.
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  1. Avatar of Ade Vita Ade Vita on May 29, 2019 at 3:15 am

    farmers don’t just take care of farming or what they usually do. but indeed they can expand their business by honing their other skills. so that if there is a problem with agricultural products they can generate income in other businesses. I also want to share interesting articles about innovations from Indonesian students who created ‘Real Time’ to Minimize Loss of Shrimp Farmers. if you are interested in reading, please visit the following link:

  2. Avatar of Henry Larry Henry Larry on March 5, 2024 at 3:13 am

    The article underscores the challenge of time constraints in farmer training yet the payoff in cultivating leadership skills is evident. Recognizing and supporting the needs of the labor force is a strategic move that not only fosters trust but also enhances overall productivity.
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