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New online workshops for farmers tackle labor issues


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VIRTUAL – Finding and retaining a good workforce is one of the biggest challenges facing beginning farmers. To help these farmers acquire the knowledge and tools to successfully recruit and manage employees, the University of Vermont (UVM) New Farmer Extension Project, in collaboration with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and the Center for Integrated Farming Systems at the University of Wisconsin, are running a series of online workshops starting January 11.

The workshops are aimed at both diverse ranchers who are new to employee management and farmers who are considering changes in the way they organize and manage the workforce on their farms.

The fee for each two-part workshop in the 2022 Farm Work Scorecard Workshop Series is $ 35. Scholarships and discounts for registering for multiple workshops are available but must be requested and approved prior to registration and payment to receive a voucher code. Decisions are usually made within three business days, although individuals are encouraged to apply early.

Prior registration is required for each workshop. For details on sessions, financial aid or to register, visit go.uvm.edu/farmlabor-wrkshp. To request a disability-related accommodation, contact UVM Student Accessibility Services at [email protected] or 802-656-7753.

All workshops will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., with the exception of the February 1 session, which will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The dates and topics are as follows:

  • January 11 and 18: Planning your payroll: estimating employee costs and trade-offs with mechanization. Participants will learn how to estimate the total cost of their employees, including payroll taxes, workers’ compensation, and any benefits beyond the regular hourly wage, and explore how investments in mechanization can affect needs and labor costs.
  • January 19 and 26: Building Your Human Resources Toolkit Part 1: Practical Communication Tools for Employee Management. This workshop will present common and effective tools and practices to improve communication and employee performance with the possibility of using an online personnel policy generator to develop a personalized agricultural policy manual.
  • February 1st : Get the best out of yourself and your employees. This session focuses on strategies for enabling farmers to be better communicators and managers of employees, customers and family members. Using the DiSC Workplace Profile, they will identify communication and management preferences and their impact on recruiting, hiring and retaining employees. Please note that this session lasts 90 minutes and requires pre-registration by January 26 to have time to complete a self-assessment before the workshop.
  • February 9 and 16: Building Your Human Resources Toolkit Part 2: Hire and Retain Employees on Your Farm. Participants will learn effective strategies for hiring and retaining employees and ways to help them optimize their talents. They will learn how to use an online job description generator to develop job descriptions for their operation with feedback from educators.
  • March 8 and 15: The Art of Negotiation: Getting What You Need. This workshop will deepen what negotiation is, including preparing for and executing a successful negotiation and how to preserve a relationship when negotiation fails. Participants will bring into play negotiation approaches relevant to common work management situations and develop a written plan for a negotiation.
  • April 5 and 12: Cultivate a safe, healthy and productive crew. The discussion will focus on training employees in the safe use of tools and personal protective equipment and ergonomic approaches to farming tasks that will support productivity throughout the season and prevent injuries and lost work time. .

Registration deadlines vary. For more information on deadlines or scholarships, email [email protected] or leave a message at 802-476-2003 x204.

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