The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program’s Workforce Development (WFD) program supports dairy farmers in their proactive management of human resources (HR) and safety. The FARM WFD evaluation provides information about HR and safety best practices and enables farms to track improvement over time.
At Misty Mountain Dairy in Warfordsburg, PA, owners Richard, Scott, Mark and Lauren Mosemann saw the value of investing in employees early on. When the Mosemanns first started hiring help, they often found it difficult to find reliable employees. Over the years, Misty Mountain Dairy has grown and now has seven non-family, full-time employees and four family employees to help with the 500 milking cows and 400 heifers every day.
The Mosemanns put an emphasis on employee communications and understanding what the employees need to remain invested in the business. This has led to expansions like adding employee housing and holding staff meetings every other week where Lauren, Mark and the staff share a meal and discuss any concerns or needs the employees have.
“We try to create a family atmosphere and also make sure that employees have a say in the decisions that directly impact them,” Lauren Mosemann said. “We also want to make sure our employees are in the right roles, taking time to make sure they are working in a role that plays to their strengths, so they take pride in their work and take pride in the dairy.”
During their last Workforce Development evaluation, Misty Mountain Dairy set goals to update their employee handbook and to get updated state legal fact sheets. “When we had our last evaluation, it was a good opportunity to remind us of some of the things that got set aside because of the busy day-to-day farm operations,” Lauren Mosemann said. The Mosemanns regularly use resources available on the FARM Program’s website, and Lauren added that, “one of the wonderful benefits of the FARM Program is being able to go online and get what you need.”
FARM Workforce Development is improving awareness about HR and safety best practices on U.S. dairy farms. For more information about the WFD program, visit the FARM Program website.
Through the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program’s Workforce Development (WFD) program, dairy farmers are proactively implementing human resources (HR) and safety management best practices; identifying which best practices are most useful on their farm; and tracking improvement over time.
Newmont Farm in Bradford, VT embraced the FARM WFD program, improving safety and HR measures for the farm’s six family employees and 28 non-family employees who keep the 2,700-animal operation going.
“FARM Workforce Development gave us an opportunity to review our existing safety and training protocols and identify areas we could strengthen,” Newmont Farm owner Will Gladstone said. “It’s been helpful for both managers and employees to have written documentation of safety procedures and employee resources.”
Newmont Farm had already implemented many safety and workforce best practices before joining the FARM WFD program, including requiring New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) safety training on a wide variety of topics, participating in NYCAMH yearly inspections, having yearly insurance audits, and keeping employee training logs with signatures. Additionally, each housing unit on Newmont Farm has its own 911 number and address so that employees can be clear and direct with 911 operators in an emergency. By participating in FARM WFD, Newmont Farm has been able to keep track of these practices over time.
The FARM WFD evaluation tool helps farmers develop sustainable processes and procedures and document best practices already in place. The program offers multiple resources to equip dairy owners and managers with the tools they need to further enhance their work environments. After their FARM WFD evaluation, the team at Newmont Farm set goals to review and update their existing employee handbook, draft a housing agreement, and develop a written comprehensive safety plan for the whole farm. These practices will help employees to better know and understand what is expected of them and what they can expect in return, both for day-to-day farm activity and in an emergency. Through the WFD evaluation, Newmont Farm was able to identify which best practices would be most useful to implement on their farm, furthering the FARM foundational principle of continuous improvement.
FARM Workforce Development is improving awareness about HR and safety best practices on U.S. dairy farms, as well as encouraging farmers to think about their businesses through a different lens. For more information about the WFD program, visit the FARM Program website.