Better Decisions

Better Decisions: Five steps to a sound human resource plan

Take the trouble to do a needs assessment, proper job descriptions, and an employee handbook. Only then is it time to set about hiring and recruiting


A human resource plan is one of the major components of an overall business plan in today’s modern farming operation.

Ask any producer what his input costs are and he or she will be quick to quote accurate figures on fertilizer, fuel and various other costs. Most farmers know that the cost of labour can be large, but few realize that labour costs can be controlled.

Better Decisions: In bad times, good management is your most important asset

Good communications with your staff, good planning and a positive attitude take on additional importance when the going gets tough


Hardly a day goes by when you do not read or hear from the media that agriculture is on the brink of collapse and that soon we will have to rely entirely on food produced offshore. These stories all have merit and no one can argue that agriculture is not facing difficult times. Some commodities are having a harder time than others, but overall agriculture is a threatened industry. In bad times, one thing for certain is that if farmers fail to recognize that their employees are their most important asset, things will go from bad to worse.

Better Decisions: How to make yourself into an employer of choice

If you do a few simple things and stick to a tried and tested formula, your chances of becoming a place where people really want to work are excellent


Have you ever wondered why your neighbour never seems to have any trouble finding good, reliable workers? Or why he never has much employee turnover and, even in a tight labour market, always has a large number of applicants for any position he has to offer?

Perhaps you are living next to an employer of choice, someone who can best be described as a farmer (employer) whom everybody wants to work for and will do just about anything to get a job on that farm.

Better Decisions: Take the time to do proper performance evaluations with your staff

Open communication and feedback with employees will greatly enhance your chances of success


One of the most difficult tasks faced by a manager or supervisor faces is evaluating staff and providing feedback to their employees.

Most employees want feedback on their work or performance and this is an excellent opportunity for both employer and employee to reinforce the lines of communication. Employee feedback will improve their performance, motivate self-improvement and head off potentially large problems before they take root in everyday work habits. It will also decrease staff turnover, which is a major complaint of all employers.<!--break-->

Better Decisions: Does an incentive plan have a place in your business?


For several years, producers have been looking for ways to provide their workers with an incentive-based pay scale. The mostly commonly used form, particularly in the seasonal operations, has been the bonus system whereby a worker received extra pay just for completing the season.

But people employed in supervisory positions on horticulture farms have been seeing something different in the past few years.