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Managing Human Resources on Farms: Lessons Learned During Six Years of Assessment and Programming Vera Bitsch Michigan State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Human Resources on Farms: Lessons Learned During Six Years of Assessment and Programming Vera Bitsch Michigan State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Human Resources on Farms: Lessons Learned During Six Years of Assessment and Programming Vera Bitsch Michigan State University

2 Joint Research & Extension Projects Contacts, partners Focus group discussions Case studies Workshops Review, publications

3 Focus Groups Number of meetings  5 in horticulture  4 in dairy  4+2 in pork Number of participants/meeting  8 in horticulture groups  5.5 in dairy groups  4 in pork groups

4 Case Studies Spring 2003 in Michigan Site visits, multiple interviews per operation  6 dairy farms  6 tree nurseries  4 greenhouse growers  4 landscape operations

5 Farm Sizes of Participants Hort industry  Gross sales $100k-$70 mil.  Largest: 1,600 people Dairy industry  Milk sales $400k-$14 mil.  Largest: 55 people Pork industry  Gross revenue $980K-35 mil.  Largest: 110 people

6 Summary of Assessment Results Differences, commonalities Small producers, contractors little interest Senior managers Middle managers Perception of training needs

7 Top Topics Based on Pork Groups Performance mgt  Info #, goal setting, meetings, peer pressure  Employees with baggage, lack of communication Compensation  Competitive wages, benefits, perks, defined bonus  Unclear system, lack of benefits, wage ceilings

8 Important Topics Recruitment  Through networks, using services, hire extra  Entry level hiring, location Training  Patience, hands-on, varied, safety training Working conditions  Job matching, rotation  Farm hours, flat orgs

9 Other Topics Selection  Criteria, tools  Pressure to hire Immigrant or foreign employees  Willing, able workforce  Lack of communication, conflict Discipline  Coaching, formal process  Not using a process

10 Other Topics Cont. Performance evaluation  Clear communication, formal  Not explicit, ambiguous Social environment  Flex. team assignmts, meetings  Disrespect by coworkers Labor laws  Use specialists, knowledge  Concerns, critique

11 Example: Pork Manager Workshop >Advertising vs. content; recruiting Selection Training Evaluation Compensation Conflict management Discipline and termination Communication Motivation

12 Pork Workshop Participants & Evaluation KS: 19 participants MI: 27 participants Overall rating: 7.9 out of 10 Issues  Location, time, duration  Speakers, costs Survey vs. in-depth >Evaluation data; realism

13 Thanks to North Central Risk Management Education Center Michigan Risk Partnership Project GREEEN at MSU S. Harsh & S. Fogleman for moderating focus groups, & many other team members at MSU and beyond for their contributions

14 Related Publications Bitsch, V. and E. Yakura. Middle management in agriculture: Roles, functions, and practices. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review (in print). Bitsch, V. and N.J. Olynk. Skills required of managers in livestock production: Evidence from focus group research. Review of Agricultural Economics (in print). Bitsch, V. and N.J. Olynk. Risk-increasing and risk-reducing practices in human resource management: Focus group discussions with Livestock Managers. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics (in print). Bitsch, V et al Human resource management risks: Sources and control strategies based on dairy farmer focus groups. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 38 (April, 1), Bitsch, V. and M. Hogberg Exploring horticultural employees’ attitudes towards their jobs: A qualitative analysis based on Herzberg’s theory of job satisfaction. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 37, 3 (3, December), Mugera, A.W. and V. Bitsch Labor on dairy farms: A resource-based perspective with evidence from case studies. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 8 (3, July), Bitsch, V. and S.B. Harsh Labor risk attributes in the green industry: Business owners’ and managers’ perspectives. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 36 (3, December),

15 Additional Material Reed, S. and V. Bitsch Labor laws and Michigan agriculture. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E2966. (http://web2.msue.msu.edu/bulletins/viewitem.cf m?INVKEY=E2966). Workshop presentations are available at the National Ag Risk Education Library (http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/). Additional materials are available from the author.


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