Dairy Excel: Finding, keeping dairy farm workers

Several years ago, I was visiting a large dairy farm in Wisconsin (at the time 400 cows and now 1,200). As we entered the employee break area of the milking center, there was a bulletin board that provided a lot of information to the milkers.

Right at the top center of the bulletin board was this framed statement: “Our employees are our most important asset.”

What a tribute to the workforce on that dairy.

The dairy also provided uniforms with the employees’ names and the farm name.

Each employee had a locker with their name on it, and there were other perks like boots, gloves, etc.

When employee surveys are done that ask the importance of items about their job, salary is never on the top.

They rank highly things like the environment, uniforms, being treated fairly, and training for the job.

Taking advantage. Well, if training is important to the employee, and certainly to you the employer for improved performance, why not take advantage of our Dairy Employee Short Course?

The sixth annual Dairy Farm Employee Short Course, offered by Ohio State University Extension and OSU/ATI, will be held this year in two locations in the state.

March 15-16 it will be held at the OSU Extension Office in Defiance, and March 23-24 at the Shisler Center, OARDC Campus in Wooster.

At both locations we will offer translation of the program in Spanish and the participants’ notebooks will contain reference material in Spanish.

We have revised the program a little to fit it into a shorter format to keep the cost down.

Schedule. The first day’s program starts at 1 p.m. It will include a bird’s eye view of Ohio’s dairy industry, the normal and abnormal animal, animal behavior and handling, farm visits, and good relationships with your employer and fellow workers.

The program for day two will start at 8 a.m. with refreshments, and at 8:30 a.m. the first session will be mammary gland anatomy and physiology.

The following sessions will include: milking systems and milk quality, mastitis control, milking procedures and putting it all together.

The second day will conclude at 2 p.m. with an evaluation and certificate presentations.

Registration. The registration fee is $170, with a discount for Ohio Dairy Producer Members at $155.

This includes notebooks, breaks, one evening meal and lunch. We would appreciate registrations by March 12.

You can call Jan Elliott, ATI Business Training at 330-287-7511 to register.

Latino workers. I know for dairy farms and other agricultural jobs it is difficult to find workers.

Many farms have asked about Latino workers because they are increasing in number on many farms.

So we have planned a meeting to provide you with information about hiring Latino workers.

On March 11, Finding, Hiring and Managing Latino Workers will be held at Fisher Auditorium, OARDC, Wooster from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. (registration at 9:30 a.m.)

Topics. Program topics will include: legal aspects of Latino workers and where to find them, family culture and work ethics, managing and communicating with Latino workers, adjusting to the community, and a panel of producers using Latino workers.

Registration is $20 per person and should be made by March 8 by calling OSU Extension Wayne County at 330-264-8722.

These meetings will provide valuable information for you to improve your workforce.

(The author is a dairy agent for OSU Extension in Wayne County. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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