The Right Person for the Job

September 7, 2010 05:55 AM
 

Brian Medeiros125x125

 Brian Medeiros

Hanford, Calif.

Medeiros and his parents own and operate a
2,300-cow herd in the San Joaquin Valley.

 

 


 

 

Medeiros' July Prices

Milk
(3.63% bf, 3.2% prt)
$14.29/cwt.

Cull Cows
$60/cwt.

Springing heifers
$1,550/head

Alfalfa hay
(milk cow)
$195/ton

Cottonseed
(contracted)
$276/ton
(spot)
$375/ton

Corn
(spot)
$192/ton

*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

 

Dairy employees are a breed of their own. They work long hours for a moderate amount of pay. They do jobs day in and day out that many people would not even think of doing. We require them to take responsibility, and we leave the success of the dairy in their milking hands.

Some talent and patience is required to mold these workers into the perfect employee. At Medeiros and Son Dairy, we practice this talent every day when working with our staff.

We are always striving to progress how we perform the tasks on our dairy.
We need employees who care about their job and the cows they work with. To be honest, we don’t do much to attract them. We do, however, maintain information on potential employees. We are lucky to have a high retention rate, but when an employee does leave, we look to our files and application bank.

It seems that with the current job market, individuals looking for work come by about every week. When they stop by the dairy, we ask a series of questions to see what knowledge they have of the business and where they worked before. We look at the reason they left the dairy where they worked. We then determine if we can use them on our dairy. If so, we present them with an application to fill out. All applications are stored in a file.

Upon needing an individual, my father and I will go into the filing cabinet, where we’ve organized files by positions. We look for those in which the individual stated that he or she is proficient. We contact them to see if they are still available to work. If so, we give new employees a starting wage and a two-month trial. At the end of that time, we evaluate them and seek feedback from senior co-workers. If they’re a good fit, we give them a $50 raise and continue on.

Motivating employees to continue to excel in the job they do and retaining good employees are challenges. We implement a bonus program for our milkers. Every month the milkers do an excellent job in the barn and there is no high-count report, they receive a bonus of anywhere from $200 to $400, depending on the amount of bonus the dairy receives from the co-op.

Medeiros & Son Dairy believes that if employees do a good job, they should be rewarded for their commitment. We have similar programs for the herdsman in relation to calf losses and for the breeder in increased or sustained efficiency. We will also be implementing a bonus program for our feeder once we install the FeedWatch software program into our feeding system.

We strive to retain our employees through yearly raises as their time with our dairy increases. At the beginning of every fiscal year, we increase employees’ salaries. We believe our employees recognize that we are committed to their continued employment.

In conjunction with the yearly raises, we also have a progress evaluation that we perform on all of our employees. Employees who perform their duties as stated in the SOPs, and take the extra step to ensure product quality, are passed with minimal comment.

We take the time to reinstruct any employee who does not pass. The employee is then reevaluated a week later. If the problem has stopped, we let the employee do his or her job. If the problem persists, we take different measures to ensure that we can address it appropriately. During the rest of the year, if a problem does arise, the process is done at that time to ensure that the milk we produce at our dairy is safe for the consumer.

On any dairy operation, you are always looking to find the best employees at the best price. We hope that through the continuation of our programs, we can do that for many years to come.

 

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