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Farm Help

November 9, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

Be the boss that develops a positive work environment. 

Farmers are self-employed by nature, yet many rely on a team on a daily basis. According to a September Farm Journal Pulse, around half of farmers have at least one employee.

farm pulse

Of the more than 1,600 responses, 5% have 10 employees, 7% have five to nine employees and 36% have one to four employees. The remaining 52% reported no employees.

Team building. Whether your team consists of a couple family members or several full-time staff, it’s important to create a positive work environment, says Chuck Schwartau, University of Minnesota Extension educator.

To do so, he says to focus on clear communication. "Team members are more motivated when they understand their contribution to the success of the business," he says. "Communicate your appreciation to your staff. Even a few sincere words of thanks or praise can be the motivator to push many people to even higher performance."

Trust is another key team-building component. As employees are ready, Schwartau suggests giving them greater responsibility. "When you show trust and add appropriate responsibilities, it increases their self-esteem and may enable them to earn more while still making money for the farm," he says.

Once you create a strong sense of team, don’t quit. "Athletic teams practice all season to improve," he says. "On a regular basis, engage your team in discussions and exercises that help keep them thinking toward a stronger and more effective team."

Add your vote. To join our producer panel, visit or text "Pulse" to 46786. Farm Journal, in partnership with Commodity Update, will text you two quick poll questions per month. Text back your response, and the results are displayed in an
interactive map by the next day. 

You can e-mail Sara Schafer at

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Mid-November 2013

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