Providing Guidance & Best Practices

FARM Workforce Development (WFD) focuses on the people who work year-round to provide excellent cow care and produce wholesome milk: our dairy farm families and their employees. FARM WFD equips dairy owners and managers with tools to enhance their safe and thriving work environments. This new initiative has brought together stakeholders from the entire dairy value chain to create educational materials. The suite of materials includes best-in-class HR and Safety Manuals, HR templates, and legal fact sheets. Additionally, FARM WFD has developed an on-farm 2nd party evaluation tool to help farms learn about HR and safety management best practices; identify which best practices will be most useful to implement on their farm; and, track improvement over time.

Expert and stakeholder input is essential for ensuring a robust program. The FARM Program has assembled a Workforce Development Task Force composed of farmers, cooperative staff, academics, subject matter experts and customer representatives. The Task Force assists with overall program strategy as well as reviewing, recommending and providing counsel on program materials.

Second Party Evaluation Tool

The FARM Workforce Development (WFD) second party Evaluation Tool, Version 2, encourages best practices, with a focus on developing sustainable management processes and procedures to promote positive human resources (HR) and safety outcomes on dairies. HR and safety management will look different depending on the unique circumstances of the individual dairy. By using information from and referencing the FARM WFD HR and Safety Manuals, HR Templates, and other FARM resources, the evaluation tool operationalizes the FARM WFD materials – supporting dairy producers and managers in their journeys of continuous improvement.

Where applicable, the Evaluation Tool encourages policies and processes to be recorded in writing, which should be shared with employees. For example, the contents of an Employee Handbook should be shared with employees during a new employee orientation. Moreover, the Evaluation Tool provides a framework for good communication and creating a positive workplace culture through such means as holding staff meetings, checking in with new employees, and developing grievance procedures.

FARM Participants can email to voluntarily enroll in FARM WFD and implement the second party evaluation tool with their farms.


of dairy farms have non-family employees
non-family employees on dairy farms


See how FARM Workforce Development is implemented across the country

Featured Resources

Workforce Development Version 2 Evaluation Preparation Guide
Human Resources Reference Manual – Spanish
Human Resources Reference Manual
2020 Nationwide Labor Survey Report
Safety Reference Manual
Safety Reference Manual – Spanish
FARM Safety Self-Assessment
FARM HR Self-Assessment

FARM Workforce Development Leadership

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