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Focusing on culture allows you to build relationships with your employees

The 2022 Regional Conference of the National Mastitis Council was held in Lansing, Michigan.

It is estimated that more than 50% of farmers employed in the United States identify him as Hispanic. This demographic has been on dairy farms for a very long time and will continue to move the industry forward.

I recently attended a regional meeting of the National Mastitis Council in Lansing, Michigan. During the conference, there were several speakers on various topics. Human resource management was one of them. But that wasn’t what I expected.

“I might think I’m a human resources expert, but it’s not,” Paola Bacigalupo-Sanguesa laughed. “I know how to train people and work with them, but in reality I recognize myself as an agricultural worker.”

Bacigalupo-Sanguesa has worked on dairy farms for many years, but has also traveled to other farms to improve the relationship between farm workers and managers. Her people’s skills, along with her ability to speak Spanish and English, helped her to understand what works for farm employees and the frustration they have about their work. rice field.

“I didn’t go to veterinary school because I wanted to work with people. I wanted to work with animals, but the caveat is that you can’t have one without the other.” Bashigarpo-Sanguesa said.

Her time on the farm helped her understand the tips for farm managers, especially when working with employees, especially when they may be from another country. One of her points was very rewarding, but it will make a big difference in the long run. It’s a culture.

Culture, like many aspects of working with people, is complex and difficult because there are many aspects to consider. Paola said one of the best things managers can do is to recognize when an employee’s culture is different from their own. It is important to look for cultural differences and similarities, respect them and, if possible, thank them. This allows you to build a relationship of trust between farm managers and employees.

Other tips are:

• Have a solid and diverse training program. Even if you train someone for a job that isn’t a regular job, it’s worth the time because people want to engage and learn new things.

• Monitor employee work, assess how they are doing, and then provide feedback. Positive and constructive. People want to know their awareness of their efforts and whether they are doing their job properly.

• Communicate as much information as possible as often as possible. This can be difficult at the language barrier, so always try to build a bridge between these languages ​​by learning a few words from them or using technology to help them.

Having enough workforce on the farm has been a struggle for some time. Bring your team together with simple actions such as weekly team meetings, somatic score postings, and employee opinion questions so everyone can value their role and feel more content. there is. It’s much more economically efficient to retain the employees you have than to constantly find and train new people.

“There is no easy answer to this. There is little data on employee retention and turnover, but farm managers can implement certain practices to help maintain the workforce. “Bacigalupo-Sanguesa said.

I’m not a farm management expert, but I have a lot of experience as an employee and I sincerely agree with all aspects of Paola. If I run my farm and struggle to retain employees, I try to carry out some of these practices step by step at a time.


Mikai La Pepper

Mikaila grew up near Osceola, Wisconsin, and discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working at a nearby Holstein dairy farm. It spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and after she graduated from Oceana High School, she went to the University of Minnesota and she earned a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During her school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture and Animal Science, and last summer she was a farmer-related intern at the Midwestern Dairy Farm. Peper is serving 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial intern.

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