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On-farm communication is critical to farm success


By Michael Cruse

Mon, Jan 18th, 2016
Posted in All Agriculture

While it may not always be the most comfortable thing to do, effectively communicating on the farm with employees and others is very important to farm success. Maintaining effective lines of communication can prevent mistakes and injury, reduce employee turnover and improve farm efficiencies. All of which helps your bottom line. While it is not necessary to know every detail about your employees’ lives, it is important to have a general understanding of whom your employees are and the factors that affect them at work. Below are five things that should be considered when thinking about communication on your farm.

1. Be proactive. As the farm operator, it is up to you to initiate and maintain communication within your business. Just telling someone once that they can talk to you is not going to be enough. You need to continually reach out to all individuals involved in your operation. Be especially proactive when there are obvious barriers to communication, such as language. You need to consistently put in the work required to keep communication lines open.

2. Pay attention to your employees. Are they showing up late when they used to show up on time? Has their productivity started to drop off? These could be nonverbal signs that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. While you do not need to be anyone’s counselor, when employees’ actions start hurting your bottom line, it is in your best interest to address the situation early on. And think outside the box, it is often better to work on a mutually beneficial solution to a problem rather than having to hire and train a new employee.

3. Frame what you are doing. When teaching someone a new job or laying out the work schedule for the week, be sure to put everything into context. People are more likely to be invested in their work if they understand why they need to do the things you are telling them. Be prepared to thoroughly discuss your thought process so employees have a complete picture of where their jobs fit into the overall operation. And never assume that other people know what you are thinking.

4. Do not underestimate how scared employees may be of talking to you. Individuals can be awfully intimidated by those who employee them. They may fear reprisal after making mistakes or just feel uncomfortable talking with you. This type of situation can lead to mistakes being covered up and to you not hearing about employee concerns that r .....
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Cleaning up and organizing the farm: Farm organization

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Jan 11th, 2016
Posted in All Agriculture

I wrote about record keeping and how accurate records can help a farm make informed operational decisions. As a follow up to that discussion I would like to cover another topic related to improving your farm’s bottom line, and that is farm organiz ..... 
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Ag Extension educator’s year end review: 2015

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Jan 4th, 2016
Posted in All Agriculture

With the holiday season and the New Year here, now is the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and to look forward to the year to come. This past year has been a year of significant ups and downs at the Extension office. In the spring of 201 ..... 
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Cleaning up and organizing the farm: Recordkeeping

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Dec 21st, 2015
Posted in All Agriculture

With the end 2015 closing in on us, now is the time to plan for 2016 and look for ways to improve your farm operation. The predicted continuation of low commodity prices makes this year’s planning phase increasingly critical. At a recent financial ..... 
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Fillmore County Land Rent Survey results

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Dec 7th, 2015
Posted in All Agriculture

By Michael Cruse Extension Educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s land rent survey. According to our survey results, 2015 land rental rates in Fillmore County averaged between $201.64- ..... 
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What does a Minnesota Extension Educator do?

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Nov 23rd, 2015
Posted in All Agriculture

By Michael Cruse Extension Educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties After two months as the Extension Educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties, I keep hearing a re-occurring question from neighbors, friends and family. What is it you do aga ..... 
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Stay observant to prevent damage to stored agricultural goods

By Michael Cruse

Mon, Nov 16th, 2015
Posted in All Agriculture

Extension Educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates one third of all the food produced in the world is lost or wasted annually. While this reported loss can happen anywhere fr ..... 
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Farmers to receive documentation of USDA services Local offices issue receipts for services provided

Mon, Nov 9th, 2015
Posted in Preston Agriculture

Preston, MN, October 21, 2015 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director Jane Ray reminds agricultural producers that FSA provides a receipt to customers who request or receive assistance or i ..... 
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2015 Minnesota Cattle Industry Convention registration is open

Mon, Nov 9th, 2015
Posted in All Agriculture

Hutchinson, MN (October 12, 2015) – The Minnesota Cattle Industry convention is an event that brings together producers and beef industry partners for educational opportunities, policy discussion and development, and a cattle focused trade show. ..... 
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