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How Can You Retain Quality Farm Employees?

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on the farmOf the many struggles FamilyFarms Group members face in the agricultural industry, how to attract and retain quality employees is at the top of the list. Attracting and retaining talent has always been a key element of success for any business. However, with unemployment rates at a 53-year low (the lowest since 1966!), the current job market is forcing employers to think differently about how they manage the staffing side of their business. Fewer individuals are looking for jobs, so farm owners and managers need to have a strong retention strategy to keep their current and future employees on the farm.

Recognizing that turnover affects all aspects of an organization is a crucial first step to addressing a retention problem. You might be asking yourself, “How on earth can that be true?” Think about it this way: frustrated workers take on the excess job duties of someone who has left, which can cause a decline in morale and an increase in “attitude.” The owner or manager who filled the job must do it all over again. This includes incurring cost to recruit, hire (maybe at a higher wage), and train a new employee.

Here are some tips for you to consider when developing your retention initiatives:


Clear Expectations

Attracting and retaining quality talent relates back to your ability to be clear about what you are looking for in your farm employees. Job descriptions are a great tool for outlining those expectations.


Performance Management

How are your employees supposed to correct the way they do things if you, as their manager, do not tell them their work is unacceptable? Providing immediate and ongoing and constructive feedback to your employees will help address problem situations before you hit your breaking point.



Employees want to feel valued and respected. When managers make it their priority to show respect, it will lead to a strong and lasting relationship along with great company culture.



It’s important to stay competitive. Consider paying your employees as much as or more than other employers (not only including farming operations) in your area. Periodically evaluate your total compensation package. This includes not only wages but also benefits, bonuses, paid time off, and retirement plans. You need to stay competitive!


Exit Interviews

An exit interview should be completed with employees who are departing on a voluntary basis. Be prepared; you may hear some things that may pinch a bit. However, you will be provided with valuable insight into how things are really happening on your farm. Pay attention, and you will reap the future rewards of asking for feedback now.

Remember, it’s your job to do what you can to set your farm employees up for success. After all, they are your BIGGEST asset. Without people, you can’t run your farm effectively, efficiently, or profitably.


Professional Help with Farm HR

FamilyFarms Group partners with families to keep them on the farm by helping them build profitable, sustainable businesses that can succeed across generations. We’re a member-owned group of family farmsthat provides expert guidance and training in many aspects of farm business management and operations. For more information about attracting and retaining quality employees for your farm, click the link below to access our free ebook.

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Written By

Kelli Roberts

Kelli Roberts

HR Generalist

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