Norton Seal Image of farm managers observing an employee operate a combine.

On The Farm

Farm Job Hiring Tips

Your farm is your livelihood — and hiring the right people to help it run is key to a smooth and successful operation. But finding good candidates to work on your farm requires some serious consideration. Since this is a competitive job market, you’ll need to be strategic in the way you market and interview for the open position.

Take a look at these tips for a better understanding of what motivates your applicants and learn about ways to find and keep hard working employees.

Tips for Hiring Farm Workers

Just as each worker has a unique skill set, every position on the farm contributes in its own way to your overall operation. And since you’ll spend considerable time training new employees, it is key to hire the best worker for the job. Look for skilled laborers who are safe, efficient and in good physical shape.

When reviewing their application, be sure to verify with previous employers that they’ve been a reliable, on-time and hard-working employee. Also, invest the time to get to know your applicants by showing them around the farm — this also can be an important part of forecasting if they’re going to work out.

There are some jobs on the farm, like construction positions, that can be hazardous. Reduce the odds of your employees getting hurt by attracting skilled, experienced workers to interview for open positions.

To get started, advertise locally in newspapers and cast an even wider net online. Here are some ideas to highlight the physical requirements and benefits of your operation:

  • Candidate must be physically fit, able to perform labor intensive tasks for long periods
  • Reasonable work schedules are maintained
  • Safety training and personal protective equipment is provided
  • Well-kept buildings and tools make it a great place to work
  • Great health insurance program and other incentives offered

Also, it’s your job to ensure your farm is a safe place to work. Check out our loss control resources to implement a farm safety plan. And take a look at our Safety Tips for on the Farm article to see if any adjustments are necessary to help ensure that your farm is operating safely.

Understanding What Farm Employees Need

Cultivating a healthy work environment is an ongoing process and it’s something workers are seeking out as a priority. Tell potential employees that the job is more than just wages — in addition to mentoring them, their history and knowhow is also important to you — and any suggestions that they offer up to improve operations will be heard. Workers can be motivated when they know they have a voice.

Here’s a few other important factors to keep in mind as well:

Promise them that they’ll be treated well. Know that employees want to be respected. The more your worker feels this job is important to the employer, the harder they’re likely to work. They’re also more inclined to stay on with a job where farm owners and employees have made them feel comfortable.

Identify opportunities for career advancement. Talk over openings that exist within your business that the prospect can work towards. Farm work can be monotonous, especially for a seasoned worker who’s applying for an entry level job. The idea of a promotion and better paying job will also foster a good work ethic.

Review the job requirements in detail. Employees do best when they know exactly what’s expected of them. If you know harvest is going to demand a week full of 16 hour days, let them know now, and tell them how you intend to pay overtime. Carefully detail the expectations and physical demands of the job. Let them know that their hard work will be recognized as well.

Offer incentive packages. Get them motivated to sign on by offering production-based incentives. These goals need to be realistic and are usually presented in one of the following ways:

  • An end-of-year bonus
  • A production-based bonus, based on productivity by bushel or gross weight
  • A percentage-based bonus based on post-harvest financial profits

Give them health insurance. Workers are motivated when employers can deliver a comprehensive health insurance plan. It’s an investment that can attract more qualified candidates. They’re likely aware of the risks involved in farm work, and health insurance carries a lot of weight when the candidate’s family can also be covered.

Mentoring can encourage the inexperienced. One way to pitch the job to younger laborers is to let them know that they’re going to get on-the-job training. If they’re expected to work in new settings, specifically with livestock or operating machinery, it’ll be important for them to know that you’ve got their back and you’ll get them up to speed. Remember, your experience can be a big benefit to them and they’ll be more inclined to jump on board with a little reassurance.

As you study what it’s going to take to hire a quality worker, make a little space in your day to review your farm/ranch insurance policy too. By carefully insuring everything you’ve worked so hard to create, you’ll feel better knowing that you and your employees are protected, whatever the future may bring.

How would you rate this article?

Related Topics: Farm Insurance , Farm Safety , Employees