Having a pre-season/pre-planning meeting and training session for your farm will help set you up for a successful harvest. In part two of our blog series, we discuss who should be involved in pre-season training, when it should happen, and how to structure your training program.
You can read part one of our blog series here.
Who: You know your employees and staff best, so you’ll need to consider their roles and responsibilities when deciding what to focus your training on. If you’re thinking about, operations and fieldwork, don’t lose sight of any office admin roles that are part of the workflow. You can decide to include all your staff, operations only, specific departments, office/administration only, or any combination for your training.
When: When choosing the time, lock in and schedule a set date, time, and location with all participants. Also schedule a backup date, time, and location. Farm operations certainly have more than their fair share of unexpected situations that could force you to cancel the first date.
How? Your session be roughly a half-day (4 to 5 hours). The use of that time is flexible, but our suggestion is roughly 2 hours of “classroom” training and 2 hours of hands-on training, with the extra hour built in for moving locations, snacks, breaks, and a meal.
Pro trip: Provide breakfast and/or lunch for your employees. This keeps it simple and allows employees to interact over the meal. Plus, they will greatly appreciate the gesture.
Family Farms can help with creating detailed agendas, materials, and checklists for your training sessions. You will want to cover the following in your session:
- Expectations for the season: Discuss your planting goals for the season. They should include -
- Number of acres per day per planter
- Number of acres per day per cultivator
- Number of planting days expected to plant 100% of your acres
- Yield goals
- Timing: Share a typical season calendar with your employees and discuss as a group. Describe the typical to the extreme seasons so there are no surprises in a very wet spring, delayed harvest, etc.
- Workload: Outline the hours and days of work that is expected from each employees
- Standards for your operation: Highlight your SOPs, work instructions, and technology that is used on your farm and equipment
- Logistics: Provide a map that outlines the field entry, exit, and safest routes for your employees to follow. Include road safety & protocol, speed limits, and right of ways.
- Minimize compaction
- Seed delivery plan / Grain storage
- Other topics that are specific to your farm and operations
This is also a great time to review your organizational structure, chain of command, protocol, and certainly safety procedure and crisis management with your employees. Make sure to include in your training when you need to be notified, and how managers and employees should handle less critical issues as they arise.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to do a post-season debrief and celebration of your success in the fall. Watch for another blog in this series detailing what those sessions should include.
Start planning now for your “Spring Training” and be on your way to a championship season this fall. You’ll be rewarded with less downtime, higher quality work, fewer unnecessary phone calls to you, better maintained equipment, overall better communication, more accurate data, better expectations, and a more confident crew.
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