Published Mar 1, 2011

Managing Farm Labor

By Practical Farmers of Iowa

What do you do when your business is growing and you realize you need more hands around to get all the work done? Hiring an employee can be stressful, listen to this Farminar recording to ease your fears and learn more to help your business thrive.

Farm labor is crucial to get the work done, “I really find that labor is a great asset, but it also can be a serious problem – it’s rather expensive,” says Eric Franzenburg, experienced farmer speaker from Van Horne, IA.

Tips from Franzenburg’s Pheasant Run Farm:

  • Plan ahead as much as possible, a day ahead or a week ahead if possible
  • Be realistic in budgeting time (improves each year of farming)
  • Develop good people management skills
  • Reduce labor as much as possible by purchasing equipment (with great research and care to spend money wisely)

Where do you find employees for temporary/seasonal farm labor?

  • High schools
  • Community colleges
  • Universities looking for summer jobs
  • New Iowan Center – Iowa Workforce Development
  • Local people who like working outside

Learn tips like:

  • Interview questions when hiring an employee…
  • Explaining workplace expectations in a brief employee manual…
  • Hear from a farmer what paperwork is needed for hiring an employee.
  1. I-9 Employment eligibility – sign form with contact information and two forms of Identity to prove citizenship or legal resident status
  2. W-4 Employee withholding – a form that employees fill out to declare allowances that determines federal income tax, also states have W-4 forms as well for state income taxes
  3. Workers Compensation (any insurance provider can sell it)