DeGroot is a third-generation California dairy producer whose San Joaquin Valley operation milks 2,400 cows.
**Extended comments highlighted in blue.
Our farm is and always has been a family-owned and -operated business. My grandfather was hands-on, my dad is hands-on, and my brother and I are hands-on. We make all the major decisions on a day-to-day basis, but we can’t do it alone. We rely on a team of good employees to help us accomplish our goals. We work side by side with our employees to make our operation run.
For us, finding employees is not an issue. We have at least one or two people a day stop and ask for work. Fortunately, we have very little turnover, so most of the time we just take their information and send them down the road.
In the event that we do need to hire, we most often interview someone recommended to us by a current employee. It doesn’t always work out, but we’ve found that most often a current employee isn’t going to recommend someone who could make them look bad. My herdsman and I will meet and talk with the potential new hire, and, if we agree, we will place that person in the position with a current employee to train.
The job training at our farm is hands-on. We need to see if they can do the work but also how well they work around animals. My herdsman explains the job description and procedures associated with the job. Then he places them in that position (with a current employee).