Hats Off to Our Employees

September 9, 2014 09:52 PM

Mark Rodgers

Mark Rodgers
Dearing, Ga.

Hillcrest Farms is home to four generations of the Rodgers family, plus 420 milking cows and 470 heifers.



One of the most important reasons for our success at Hillcrest has to be attributed to our excellent staff. We have employees who were hired by my grandfather still working and ready for retirement with over 30 years of service.

Being a fourth-generation farm has its advantages. The families living in our area know that we are honest and that, if hired, they know our operation is here to stay. They know they have job security if they perform well.

The bulk of our employees are hired locally and by word of mouth. About half of our staff are related to each other and were recruited by family members. Anybody applying for work must fill out an application and go through an interview process. When hired, they have trial periods, and performance is evaluated after two weeks, three months and then as needed but at least annually.

We provide housing on our farm for five of the families employed. A matching retirement plan is available for all employees if they wish to enroll. Employees work 4½-5 days a week. All employees are paid vacation time, and we provide a Christmas bonus starting at $200. We add $50 per year of service thereafter. All employees are provided uniform service. They are less likely to worry about getting dirty to get the job done as a result.

We set clear goals and routinely go over protocols and procedures with our staff. We value input during hiring from our senior staff. We also let shift leaders train and evaluate employees.
Our employees take great pride in hitting the goals that management has set. Our staff checks their own performance at the end of each shift on the farm computer.

The milkers check their "milking performance" on our ALPRO system. They are interested in seeing how many cows they milked an hour and how much milk the cows average on their shift.
The feeding crews follow Dry Matter Intakes and daily milking averages so they can see how their efforts to feed exactly to ration specifications ensure the herd performs to expected levels. We encourage this self-evaluation on a daily basis.

Rodgers’recent prices

$26.32 (3.4 bf, 2.9 prt)

Cull cows

Springing heifers

Whole cottonseed

Ground corn

Soybean meal


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