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Finance first: First-time hiring jittersFinance first: First-time hiring jitters

Answers to your tough farm management questions.

Darren Frye

September 9, 2016

2 Min Read

My farm has been growing, and I’m going to need to hire a couple full-time employees, in addition to the family members, and part-time and seasonal employees I already have. I’ve never hired a full-time employee before, but I want to do it right so we don’t have to deal with any bad hires. How can I find and keep good employees? T.W., Minnesota

As farming continues to consolidate, more farmers are going to be asking this question. It can be a challenge to recruit and retain the right help, especially if your farm is in a very rural area.


Top farms will be increasing their focus on developing and retaining talented employees. People management, talent management and human resources will likely continue to become more important.

Before you start looking for candidates, you’ll want to have a sound hiring process in place, one that will help prevent the “bad hires.” Some of the factors you’ll want to consider are: Is this person a cultural fit for our operation? Can we see them “fitting” into our farm’s culture?

Can they learn how to do the job? Do they have an aptitude for learning? Will they be able to instinctively do the role you’ll be asking them to do? Are they well-suited for the work? You may want to work with a firm that specializes in farm HR as you create a hiring process for your operation, and develop strategies and incentives to help retain good employees.

The “people” aspect of farming can drive much of what happens on the farm. Anytime you’re working with people, things can get messy. But understanding more about people and what uniquely motivates them can help in finding and hiring the right people — and helping to retain them.

Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions and regular contributor to Farm Futures. [email protected]

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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