I am able to reflect on two key messages at the end of a high-impact week at the World Pork Expo.
- Our industry has agreed that we are at a critical turning point in how we view labor.
- Consistent animal husbandry is a necessity in getting your farm to the next level of production. This can’t be done without…people!
So where do we find these “people”? Can we build them or are they ready and able when they walk into the farm? Well I have a few opinions on this…so let’s take a look!
- Before you turn this one away and think there is not a huge correlation or mutual interest, bare with me. What would make a good nursing staff? Good bedside manners, individual patient care, solid medical treatment documentation and plans for improving health status? I don’t know about you but it sounds like a great farrowing team member to me!
- Local High Schools
- If your farm manager and local ag teacher aren’t on a first name basis you are missing the boat here. Last year I spoke with a rural area (population roughly 5,000) Ag Teacher and he stated “71% of our students went on to continue their education last year following graduation; but the majority are out after one year.” This is a great message for us to take in. Many of our youth WANT to have a career, yet they are restrained, either due to interest, or financial availability. Furthermore, their average income per household is $34,809 according to areavibes.com. They can come in and do very well for themselves in a lower cost area, which makes your farm or production system a great landing spot!
- Teachers and Construction Labor
- Don’t click out on this one. While the skill type may not be exact mirrors, the fact that each may need supporting income 2-3 months out of the year does. This will take some work between your production and support team to ensure a good rotation is going and even a part-time/flexible schedule may be a great for them and your team.
What’s not on the list?
Right, the TN Visa program because it is a pretty common known pipeline today…maybe too common? I’ll have a follow up piece on that but in the meantime if you want a great contact for assistance on a TN program feel free to reach out.
We may not need to look between a rock and a hard place to solve all our farm issues, but maybe once in a while it’s worth turning that rock over–especially when it comes to our labor market.
So sit down with your team and see how you can explore each of these areas for your system.
Until next week, Barrett