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5 ways to solve your labor problems

Agriculture.com Staff 09/01/2009 @ 12:56pm

Milking cows, planting corn, baling hay, caring for livestock, harvesting fruits and vegetables. These are all highly labor-intense agricultural enterprises. And ag is an industry facing an increasingly difficult time in finding dependable labor to get the work done.

While the thawing business environment has cut loose potential employees, few are clamoring for a job that may require long days in less-than-ideal conditions. Even if prospects do line up at the barn door, it may be short-lived once a better paying, less taxing opportunity comes along.

No matter which segment of agriculture you are in, this is a problem that affects everyone, including the five farmers on the following pages. They've each had their share of labor issues and resolved them in their own way.

Milking cows, planting corn, baling hay, caring for livestock, harvesting fruits and vegetables. These are all highly labor-intense agricultural enterprises. And ag is an industry facing an increasingly difficult time in finding dependable labor to get the work done.

As row-crop farmers expand their land base, they also add the equipment -- be it in horsepower, additional row units, or advanced technology – necessary to handle increased chores. This mechanized labor pool lessens the worries Arlyn Schipper of Conrad, Iowa, has about finding a reliable source of labor.

With more than 14,000 acres of farm ground to cover, which includes seed corn, soybeans, waxy grain corn, alfalfa, and wheat, John Larimer relies heavily on his workforce. His family's farm operation, Lord's Seed, seasonally hires 400 migrant workers and employs over 40 full-time people.

In Fresno, California, Fred Machado is known as Mr. America and with good reason.

With his migrant workforce quickly disappearing, going behind bars to find laborers offered Joe Pisciotta, Jr. an alternative. Skeptical at first, he now says it's the best decision he's ever made.

With the help of a robotic milking system, August and Michael Baumann have eliminated worries about finding reliable labor to milk their 200-plus Holstein herd.

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