The world of the family farm no longer represents the agricultural industry. As the industry grows, it’s possible to earn a good living and never actually work on a farm. Biochemists, environmental engineers and truck drivers can all find work in agriculture and contribute to food production. Here are the best ways to find the best applicants for the many different jobs you may need to fill for your agriculture business.
Offer a Great Salary
If your business is struggling to draw in new employees, it’s time to take a look at your salary offerings. Flexibility is nice, and there are many perks available in the agriculture industry, but at the end of the day, people need to take home a decent salary. Whether we’re talking degreed chemists or on-the-ground workers, you need to match similar salaries.
Check out other industries that require long hours and extreme temperatures. For example, if your local plant nursery or big box store is offering more money per hour than your business is offering for similar working conditions, you may experience a high turnover rate once the training period ends.
Offer a Flexible Schedule
Agriculture workers can put in some long hours. However, both field work and cattle jobs can also have some down time. Consider letting your workers bank their time during the long days and allowing them to draw on that time during the slower times. This will save you both the cost of overtime.
Overtime is taxed at a higher rate. If you can hire your workers with the understanding that their overtime in the spring during calving season or in the fall during meat processing season will come back to them during slower months such as winter, they can more easily set up their budgets and manage their cashflow through the year.
Get Creative with Seasonal Workers
Season workers can be hard to find and may not stick around after the first year. To build loyalty among your seasonal crew, make sure you offer perks that work for them.
You may need to put in power and water hookups for RVs to draw in some workers. Tent sites and showers can also be a big draw for nomadic laborers. If you’ve got the room, offer dorm sleeping set-ups and meal perks to draw in folks who are just starting out.
Of course, on the field you will need to offer
- water and shade breaks
- seating and first aid
- sunscreen and gear, including hats and gloves
Happy seasonal workers can be some of your best recruiting tools to bring in more like-minded workers. You may have luck bringing retired nomads for some lighter work. Finally, consider offering a pet care area so nomad workers with dogs can keep their pets cool and fed.
Offer an Apprentice Program
There are many young people in cities who are interested in a more rural life. Offering seasonal apprenticships can be a wonderful way to boost your workforce with those who are truly in love with the life.
You can also offer young people in your local community the chance to learn new aspects of the agricultural industry. If you’ve got a strong cattle industry in the area, maybe young people from your area would like to work in a new region to study fish farm management. Join up with local extension offices to see what you can offer to local folks a new way to think about farming.
Create a Business Presence in the Community
Most agricultural employees live in smaller cities and more tight-knit communities. Make sure that you have a community presence. Sponsor sports teams. Underwrite a theatre show or a musical program. Set up a canopy and hand out water cups, tote bags and water bottles at the local 5k. Make sure that your business is listed as a contributor to the local animal shelter.
Get your name out there so you are a respected part of the community to increase employee loyalty. To that end, make sure that your marketing promotional images work in color, black and white, and the reverse so your name and logo can go on tees, totes and water bottles. Quality workers are critical to every industry. Making sure that your business is offering flexibility so workers can build a better work life balance will increase employee loyalty. Yes, salary is important, but so is helping employees take pride in being a part of your business thanks to your strong community involvement.
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