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MANAGEMENT

Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.

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“Hey, watch out, there’s a rock the size of a loaf of bread about to go through the header!” I yell to my new hubby in the cab of our combine as we harvest in 1981.

“Don’t worry, I saw it, and there will be more,” he confides to me. As a Red River valley farm girl transported by marriage to the Waskada clay loam of southwestern Manitoba, I have developed the habit of picking stones or rocks on my field walks as I deliver meals, fuel or help out with the harvest.

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The calendar may say that it’s a new year, but my new year was a few months ago, in September. I always feel that “going back to school time” is really the start of my new learning season.

But alas, you have bright shiny new calendars on your office, shop and kitchen walls. Hopefully, you still have your 2013 diary, journal or calendar nearby to take some time for reflection.

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Are you in the “products business” or the “service business”? Not your company … you. The answer for your company is usually pretty easy – that depends on what you sell. But what about you?

Sure, your company might produce and sell things. But chances are, almost everyone on your team, from top to bottom, is in the service industry.

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Larger dairies present new challenges in relation to herd management; it also means new challenges in regards to human-resource management.

In order to achieve maximum efficiency, it is critical to pay attention to how employees are recruited, selected, evaluated, trained, rewarded and retained. In other words, development of human-resource management strategy is needed.

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Are you using one of the best tools available on a dairy farm to solve potential problems and move the business forward? Are we talking about a new product? Service? Technology? Not in this article.

Instead, we are focusing on a time-tested – and often underutilized – tool on the dairy: a properly run employee meeting.Some reasons to conduct an employee meeting include:

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A lot of attention is paid to the health of cattle on the farm. Those raising their own feed pay attention to the health of crops in the field. Some dairy farmers even pay attention to their own health (but more should).

But how many pay much attention to the health of the relationship between owners/managers and the employees? I’m betting that is pretty far down on the list of health items watched very carefully.

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