Critical to Our Success

September 7, 2010 06:18 AM

BradandMarkCrandall 125x125Brad and Mark Crandall

Battle Creek, Michigan

The Crandall brothers milk 270 cows on their fifth-generation farm.


*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.

The Crandall's July Prices

(3.4% bf, 2.8% prt) $15.51/cwt.

Cull cows

Springing heifers $1,500/head


Soybean hull pellets

Soybean meal
(spot) $330/ton


This is the time of year when having quality employees is more important than ever. The long, hot days and the stresses they bring are shared by both owners and help. It is also when we deal with worker turnover due to part-time help going back to high school or college.

Our employees are critical to our success. With an operation the size of ours, it can be difficult to retain people who can perform a wide variety of tasks. We are not large enough to have individuals specialize in certain areas. Our employees do everything from milking and feeding calves to operating and repairing equipment.

While finding people capable of doing different things well can be a challenge, it also keeps the people we have from burning out as easily. Few productive individuals will last long in jobs where boredom becomes an issue. Not all people want to be managers, either. Our operation is a niche for those somewhere in the middle.

Keeping and motivating our help is a priority for maintaining high standards. Most important is to have a positive attitude ourselves. As hands-on operators working closely with employees daily, we recognize that it impacts on their attitude when we show appreciation for the
animals, pride in our equipment and care for our land.

We strive to communicate to our employees why all the small details of what we do are important. People need to know the reasons things are done a certain way. It is empowering when a person knows that the 1% of things he or she does better than somebody else is what sets us apart.

Finally, we believe it is crucial never to be labeled as looking for a cheap workforce. We all want to be competitive when it comes to cost of labor, but too many managers fail to recognize the true cost of employee turnover and the value of employees who become experts at the operation.

We would like to thank Tim, Bill, Stacey and Tommy -- our full-time employees -- for helping us be successful, even through some very challenging times. We have also had excellent part-time employees for many years. Thanks to all of them as well.

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