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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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Managing labour is a big part of dairy farming today. Many times I have heard farmers say it’s not the cows that are hard, but dealing with the people.

I see labour management similar to parenting: Someone has to make decisions to keep the household – or in this case the farm – on track – and you can bet that all the kids will never be happy at the same time.

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Management is an explicit process. It can be taught, and it can be learned. It takes time, dedication and self-discipline. Management is often the difference between success and failure.

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A family with energetic boys raised cattle on a hobby farm. A well-intentioned neighbour, with decades of experience in cattle production, was critical of the “results” he saw and often shared his wisdom.

One evening, as the neighbour chastised the father, the mother stepped in and said, “You don’t seem to understand. We’re not really raising cattle on this farm. We’re raising boys!”

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In conversing with dairy managers, their usual complaint is their labour force. When these individuals are asked what motivates their employees to do a good job every day, the usual response is: “They will be fired if they don’t perform well.

That is motivation enough.” Their statements may be true, but is employee performance really improved with the threat of termination? Dairy employees already have the desire and capability to become top performers.

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Editor’s note: This is the third in a three-part series on developing middle managers. Click here to read the first part of the series. Click here to read second part of the series.

With the right people on the Scandinavian warship and everyone busy rowing, it is time to see who rows the best, who needs more direction and who might need to find a seat on another ship.

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Founders typically want to know where their income streams will be after they let go of power and control of management and/or ownership. They also have marital conflict about home residence issues and how to be fair to non-business heirs.

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