Does your farm have or need employees? Then you need managerial skills.
Time is valuable. Time is money. Your ability to manage people is crucial to your success. Fact: Wages, salaries, and contract labor expenses represent more than 40 percent of the cost of production in labor intensive crops like fruits, vegetables, and nursery products.
The Labor Ready Farmer project is focused on the growth of New York State Fruit & Vegetable farms through improved workforce management and leadership skills.
Help your business succeed by creating effective teams and helping you best employees climb the career ladder. With the ultimate goal of minimizing workforce related issues on new farms in New York State, the Cornell Small Farms Program through the Labor Ready Farmer Program wants to solve labor related issues.
On this page you'll find resources, articles, and opportunities to improve your farm workforce management.
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About Labor Ready
Being prepared to hire, manage and retain skilled employees is crucial for farmers across New York. A new project, the “Labor Ready Farmer” (LRF), will offer a team-based approach to address this challenge by building skills of new farmers and Latino agricultural employees wanting to climb the ladder from labor to management.
The project’s long-term goal is 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 will support new farmers scaling up and Latino agricultural employees to move up the ladder of management on existing farms. For new farmers (operating less than 10 years), effective management of labor is core to scaling up produce businesses. By investing in the skills of valuable employees, we aim to create pathways for advancement and long term retention of these individuals in the NY fruit and vegetable industry.
The curriculum developed by the project will feature online materials and videos, Spanish plain language guides and visual resources, cell-phone based English classes, regional face to face training programs (ENY and WNY) and new HR consultant teams that will coach 25 selected participants.
About Nicole Waters
Nicole is the Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. Her work focuses on the human side of farming, with the day-to-day operations of the Labor Ready Project as her main priority. Trained in organizational communication, leadership, and English as a Second Language (ESL); Nicole’s work aims to foster healthy and positive working environments through professional development programs.
Read Articles by Nicole Waters
Collaborators on the project currently include: Cornell Small Farms Program, Cornell Cooperative Extension, GrowNYC’s FARMroots, the Cornell Farmworker Program.
This work is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant no. 2017-70017-26837, from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Additional funding and technical support for this project comes from the NYS Office of New Americans and the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets.
- Cornell Small Farms Program
- CCE Lake Ontario Fruit Program
- CCE ENY Commercial Horticulture Team
- CCE Ag Workforce Development Council
- Grow NYC FARMroots
- Cornell Farmworker Program
- NYS Office of New Americans
- NYS Dept of Ag & Markets