Dairy farm management retreat useful for current and future generations


With harvest completed for many and winding down for others, there seems to be more time this fall than in recent years to accomplish fall farm activities. Although the ‘to do list’ is never complete, now is the time to think about taking a management retreat.

A two-day intensive management training program for business owners and managers, specifically in the agricultural and horticulture industries, will be offered Dec. 13-14 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Day-to-day activities and putting out fires tend to take a lot of time and energy from the farm manager, leaving little time for taking a planned approach to management. Two days may seem like a lot of time away from the farm, and Bowling Green a long drive from northeast Ohio, however, it may be just the time away that you need as a manger to reflect on how your farm is currently operating and what needs to be done to improve your operation.


This would also be a great opportunity for the next generation of management to the workshop. Having two generations from the same farm participating in the workshop will help ensure that current and future management are on the same wavelength.

The workshop also gives the opportunity to talk about your business mission statement, goals and objectives, how to handle employees, and many other topics. This will also provide a time for the next generation to determine what skills they need to begin improving as they prepare to take over management responsibilities.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with other agricultural and horticultural managers, study efficient management systems and obtain skills that can make a difference in how they operate. With the increase in input costs again, any way you can manage your farm more efficiently will be of benefit to you.

Management involves the coordination and integration of all resources, both human and technical, to accomplish specific results. This definition views management in terms of five basic managerial functions: planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling. Each function will be addressed individually through group discussions, activities and homework assignments.


Specifically, participants will learn about the five functions of management — what they mean and how to incorporate skills into daily management activities. Workshop topics will include assisting in identifying opportunities that will enhance your ability to manage your business; developing mission statements, objectives, goals and tactics for your business; understanding the five basic management functions; applying basic management concepts and skills to your business; finding, recruiting, selecting, hiring and training employees to become an effective part of your team; and learning how to utilize financial and other resource people.

This workshop may sound a lot like the Dairy Excel workshop you participated in a few years ago. It is a similar workshop, built around the Dairy Excel principles and the five functions of management. Even some of the teachers will be the same. However, the curriculum has been updated and condensed into a two-day workshop.

Attendance at another management workshop gives farm managers an opportunity to review mission statements and goals to make sure they are still current and applicable to the business. There are many challenges to managing a business and employees, and new ideas could help improve management skills.


The workshop will take place Dec. 13 and 14 at the OSU Extension Agricultural Business Enhancement Center, 639 S. Dunbridge Road, Bowling Green, Ohio. The sessions will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Registration is $150 per person and $100 per additional person from the same operation, and includes lunches and light snacks, along with all class materials.

For additional workshop information or to register, contact Becky McCann at 419-354-6916 or e-mail mccann.52@osu.edu, or log on to http://abe.osu.edu.

(Julia Nolan Woodruff is an OSU extension educator in Erie County.)


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