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How to Conduct Farm Management Training for Your Team

February 19, 2024

As the sun peeks over the horizon, ushering in another season on your farm, remember that your success hinges not just on fertile soil and tireless work ethic but also on the capable hands of your agriculture managers. They are the bridge between your vision and its execution, the first line of support for your crew, and the driving force behind a productive and harmonious farm environment. Consequently, investing in farm management training isn't just a good practice; it's an essential step toward a thriving operation. 

How to Equip a Farm Manager for Success 

1. Reflect on Past Seasons

Before diving into the new, take a moment to learn from the old. Gather your farm managers, not just as superiors but as valued colleagues. Encourage open dialogue about past season's challenges, focusing on areas where additional training or support could have made a difference. This collaborative approach fosters trust and ensures their concerns are heard, paving the way for more effective training solutions. 

2. Consider the Evolving Landscape

Many employees travel during the off-season. But even if all your agriculture managers are full-time, they may not understand how current events affect how your farm needs to do business. In recent years, agriculture has been uprooted many times due to new rulings and changing laws. We recommend following industry groups that serve farms and then taking what's relevant back to your crew bosses as part of your farm management training.  

Washington:

California:

Your managers will hear about these current events through the grapevine, so you must be upfront and transparent. Managers must know how the farm is responding to ease their minds and answer questions that their reports will have. 

Take time to explain the newest regulations, which agency has put them in place, and how you’re taking action to ensure your operation is complying. Always offer time for questions and concerns to build trust through communication. The reality is that managers and farmworkers will have questions as the year progresses. Still, upfront communication is the foundation for a better working relationship. 

3. Build on a Strong Foundation

 A well-trained farm manager is a confident and efficient leader. Revisit essential policies like the employee handbook and reporting structures. This refresher ensures everyone is on the same page and empowers managers to handle day-to-day situations with clarity and consistency.

 Pro-tip: Reviewing job descriptions with farm managers allows you to give your managers authority. Be sure to clarify your expectations, as well as the responsibility that comes with managing others. 


4. Embrace Continuous Learning

Perfecting farm management is an ongoing journey. Provide your team with frequent opportunities to learn more about managing people within the industry. For example, a manager who has seen the ¡Basta! video from PNASH will quickly identify sexual harassment and take steps to handle the issue (The ¡Basta! video is available in the Harvust training library to send directly to your managers).

Harvust offers a lot of comprehensive farm management training modules covering crucial topics like legal compliance, employee relations, and leadership skills. It's up to you to decide whether to make your ongoing training mandatory. Offering to pay for the time it takes to complete the training is a way to encourage more participation if you do make it optional.

Ultimately, if you invest in your team’s growth, you will reap the rewards of a more proactive and empowered workforce.

Pro-tip: Create Manager Tool Kits. The more quality information you can get to your managers, the more prepared they'll be to handle their reports. Collect info into a binder to keep in their truck or an electronic equivalent on their phone. It should contain common forms, rules, and answers to FAQs from employees. Make it fast to use so they'll be more likely to reference it as needed.

Remember: Even the most experienced manager needs a safety net. Create a culture of open communication, and encourage your team to seek support when needed. While you want to equip them with readily accessible resources like manager toolkits, you also want to foster a sense of trust and collaboration, ensuring no challenge is faced alone.

Unlocking Your Farm's Full Potential

Investing in farm manager training is not just about ticking a box; it's about empowering the individuals who drive your farm's success. By providing them with the knowledge, skills, and support they need, you cultivate a culture of excellence, boost productivity, and build a foundation for long-term growth.

Ready to unlock the full potential of your farm? Harvust's comprehensive farm management training solutions are designed to equip your managers with the tools and confidence they need to thrive. Contact us today to learn how we can partner with you to build a stronger, more successful farm.

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Author

Becca Groche

Becca is a seasoned HR professional with over six years of experience in agriculture and adjacent industries. Before joining Harvust, she provided her expertise as a frontline HR representative at a large Washington tree fruit company for nearly three years. Becca has lived the life of Harvust's customers and knows exactly what they need. She brings that insight and emotional intelligence to bear supporting and advising Harvust customers everyday.