In it together

September 20, 2009 07:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Louie Kazemier
Rickreall, Ore.
Upon moving here 19 years ago, we had to hire our help with no experience and train them all. We had one milker who came with us; that's all.

Some of the men we hired in 1990 are still with us. One manages all the maintenance, bedding and milkers. One manages the farming. Believe it or not, three are still milking. We have not hired a new employee in two years. When we do need one, I let the managers hire them since they have to work with them and train them. We generally hire people with a heart, not with experience.

With the challenges we are facing in the dairy business—low milk prices, high feed costs and immigration laws—I need all the support from my employees that I can get. Every day we eat lunch together and talk about the issues we are facing. My employees know about the losses we are piling up, and they are working harder.

"We are all in it together” is something I hear them say. "Just let us know what we need to do” is another.

I have been blessed with a great staff of employees. We treat them fairly and give them time off for family and school activities, and they, in turn, work hard for us.

Kazemier's July Prices  
Milk (3.6% bf, 2.9% prt): $10.81/cwt. (gross)
Cull cows: $44/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,100/head
Top-quality alfalfa: $160/ton
Flaked corn (2009 contracted): $280/ton
Flaked corn (2009 contracted) spot:  $175/ton

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