Labor Ready

Project Lead: Nicole Waters

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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.

Successful farm businesses create effective teams and help employees climb the career ladder. Positive farm managers, with great communication skills, lead to higher functioning, more efficient work teams.

On this page you'll find resources, articles, and opportunities to improve your farm's workforce management, ultimately saving you time and money.

News and Updates

Learning from the Best

By Kat McCarthy | July 2, 2018

What do Wegmans, a regional grocery store chain, and Salesforce, a software company, have in common? These two organizations both have held places on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, and have stories to share that can help you…

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Complete the NY Labor Survey for Farm Owners and Managers

By Carli Fraccarolli | March 27, 2018

Do you own or manage a farm in New York? Please take the Survey of Farm Labor Management Practices. Your feedback will help the Labor Ready Farmer’s Project develop educational programs…

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Survey of Farm Labor Management Practices

By Carli Fraccarolli | January 30, 2018

Do you manage employees on a farm? Do you need help recruiting and retaining good staff? Please take this brief survey and share important feedback that will help shape our new Labor…

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About Labor Ready

Being prepared to hire, manage, and retain skilled employees is crucial for farmers. The Labor Ready project offers a team-based approach to address this challenge by building skills of new farmers and 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 Hispanic agricultural employees to move up the ladder of management on existing farms. For new farmers, 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.

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

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Want to receive news about upcoming programs and resources in our Labor Ready project?

Click here to sign up for enews, and keeping checking back below for announcements, workshops, and new resources and opportunities within the Labor Ready Farmer project. Additional resources may also be found on the Ag Labor Management Facebook page.

Project Partners

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
  • ESL Works
  • Grow NYC FARMroots
  • Cornell Farmworker Program
  • NYS Office of New Americans
  • NYS Dept of Ag & Markets