Your Team and Harvest

Harvest season, a time where everyone is working long hours, fueled likely by Red Bull and determination. We are inundated with kernel processing, moisture, dry matter, packing, and the constant “do we have enough help” question. As we know with many jobs on the farm, it takes a quality team. It is easy to overlook safety of employees; yet harvest season can be the highest risk for injuries to employees. Here are a few “trigger” areas to look out for:

Labor and the Contented Cow

In 1907, Carnation milk coined the phrase “Milk from Contented Cows”. When the slogan was introduced it was supposed to show the consumer that the milk was coming from superior, well cared for cows, which were taken care of by caring farmers. Farmers today still search to create “the contented cow”, because just as they knew 115 years ago they know today that content cows make more milk. The massive difference between then and now, aside from all the advancements we have made in health, feed, and facilities, is labor.

Embrace Your Dissenters

How many times as a dairy owner or manager have you had an employee of fellow manager show up and tell you all the things that might go wrong, or about why your recent initiative on the dairy won’t work? It is hard enough getting initiatives delivered without having to deal with these “dissenters” and, in the heat of the moment, your response may go something like this: “Bring me solutions not problems.” In my opinion, this could be a perilous mistake.

The Future Leader

What makes you hire someone to manage one of your dairies? What brings you to choose to foster growth and leadership within that person?” Lets re-frame the old thought of only a “workhorse”, or “he/she knows cows, “he/she works 14hr. days”. Our industry is shifting and as we grow and strive to be efficient and strategic, our answers should be changing to “what qualities do I want in a good manager?”

Turning Your Parlor Team into a Power Team

What is the best way to implement changes, gain compliance, and have a power team in our milking parlor? There are a few key factors to explore when you want to create a power team in your parlor:

How do we Tie in and Grow the Buy in?

Training is the key factor to gaining buy-in with the employees, yet we must continue to build a culture of being part of a greater team at the farm level and at the industry level, we can do this through networking. This will allow employees from farms to follow best in class management tactics from other farms and from industry. What do we mean by tie in? Tie-in means that we possess the scientific knowledge and we know the on farm protocols. Yet we must continue to grow the buy-in and there are a number of ways to foster growth and culture within our farms and industry.

Explain the WHY to Create the BUY

Day to day tasks can get daunting, but whether you are a manager, herdsman or owner of a dairy, we know that the routines that take place on farms are essential to productivity and healthy animals. Being that routines are key, and as our industry shifts to highly efficient animals through the use of genetics, nutrition and technology, we are constantly tweaking these routines to achieve the maximum efficiency. But how do we make people effective and efficient?