Hiring on the Farm

Picking the right employee for your farm operation takes a lot of thought because you’ll be trusting part of your business to someone else.

Cole Ehmke is an Extension specialist at the University of Wyoming. He says personality, of course is very important. Can they take orders from you, can they give orders to other people they’re working with? Do you share information the same sort of way? As an example, do you both talk numbers or do you talk numbers and they talk feelings?

Ehmke says a lot of operations make the mistake of hiring people who think just like they do, which may not be a good move for the long-term.

"If you’re always listening to someone who’s thinking the same way that you think and doesn’t have any new ideas, then you’re just going to do the same stuff that you have been doing," he says. "It is kind of a strategic decision because if you’re in the situation where the market is changing out there, landlords are looking for different things, product markets are doing different things and you need different characteristics, then you want to hire someone that’s probably not an exact copy of yourself."

Should you hire the person that’s ready to hit the job running, or someone who needs a little more training? It depends on your situation.

"You may be in a hurry and you don’t have time to do a lot of training, or training isn’t the thing that you do really well. In that case, someone who’s already trained at some other operation or some other industry could really be a good fit. On the other hand, almost no one comes in knowing exactly what to do on your operation so there is going to have to be some training," says Ehmke. "You’ve got to think longer term, that’s why thinking in a comprehensive sort of way about the position is worthwhile up front."

Find more tips for hiring the right employees on your farm