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Are You A Good Farm Manager?

As farms get larger and the labor market tightens, the farm manager has to be a human resources specialist in their quest to find and retain the best employees. Leadership, organization, being a visionary and having good communication skills are of course important as well. However, a blanket managerial approach for all employees may not get the results you want.

Kelly Heckaman is an extension educator at Purdue University. She says a good farm manager will work with each employee as an individual and learn what makes them tick.

"That makes it challenging, because not everybody is the same and being a good leader on the farm means I’m going to have to take some time learning about that employee, learning what motivates them, and learning what communication style works best for them, and then build that level of trust with that employee," says Heckaman. "And then at the same time, you also have to be able to give them the tools that they need to complete their job and the skills so that they can grow."

Being a manager also means a commitment in growing your own skills. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work on them.

"So that may mean taking some time to invest in going to other training, other seminars to hone those skills and always trying to be a better manager, better employer so that you can come back and help your employees reach their full potential," she says.

If your farm is the kind of place where people want to work, you will become an employer of choice that can successfully compete for the best available employees.

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