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Good people wrapped around your business

The Farmer’s Open Letter

Where have all the good people gone in Agriculture?

They used to knock on my door and want to work for me on my farm.

It was a good deal for them and me. They would complete long hours and when I had time I would teach them on the job. They all had a plan to work hard and buy their own farm one day. It worked well.

It suited me. I liked to weed out the poor performers by setting difficult jobs and push them so that if they weren’t up to it, they would fall away or give up. It was a great way to separate the poor performers from the good.

It was good for me and good for the people coming through. All they had to do was what I had done and they would be successful.

But where have these people gone? They have stopped coming to my door.

It is the teachers and parents fault because they tell their children not to go into farming. You hear it all the time; “You are too good for farming”, "You should go to university and get a good paying job where you can have choice"

I focused on my children’s education. I wanted the best for them. I sent my sons and daughters to university and they have created a career away from farming. That is good I guess because farming is a hard job...

Wait... I might have said that they should get a career before they went farming. Did I push my children away from agriculture?

I hope they come home one day...

I may set stringent tasks and if they fail I get grumpy and pissed off but as I said, it is a good way to weed out the poor performers.

I have found quite a few people leave though and they are always upset, even angry at times. The odd one has said they would never work in farming again but the good ones that think like I do, stay around.

I wonder if the people that leave say bad things about working in farming? I guess they would tell their children not to work on farms.

Is it what I am doing that’s pushing people away from farming? Is it possible farmers and the way they treat people are giving the industry a bad name?

The New Millennium Farmer’s Open Letter

Good people that want to work on farms are a scarce commodity. If I find a good productive person, I try to do everything I can to keep them in my business.

The measure of what we are looking for is simple. I want them to be productive (do things) and be a good person (work within a team, have a conversation, deal with an issue proactively).

It is no good being really productive and an asshole and it is no good being a really good guy and doing nothing. When we are lucky enough to find these good productive people, we pay them in four ways.

  • A good wage that is transparent and fair (same cost as employing an asshole)

  • We ask them what they want in life and help them get there (often costs nothing)

  • We give them flexibility to go to the important things in life – kids sport, pet day, family events, etc. (costs nothing)

  • We treat them with respect and make sure they are working in a team of people they enjoy (costs nothing)

We simply want to create a workplace where people can get what they want out of their life and have a great place to work.

We wrap the good, productive people around our business and our business supports those good people.

Stu Taylor, Dairy farmer at the OB Group.

Millennium Farming

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