Dairy farm job mentors
On the dairy farm, a number of positions are frequently considered as entry level—such as milkers, pushers, feeders and calf-care employees. Frequently, such employees are new to the dairy industry. Your orientation plans should include the assignment of a mentor with special responsibility to guide the new worker in the early days and weeks. New dairy employees need particular guidance in the concepts of sanitation, biosecurity and routine in milking and handling procedures. For example, a new employee working as a pusher may not understand the importance of moving cows in a calm, quiet manner so that they are not agitated, impacting production and cow health.
Who should conduct new employee orientation?
To assure a consistent message to new employees, it is useful to have the same person conduct orientation. However, identifying supervisors or more experienced co-workers to participate in the process – perhaps as a key mentor – will assist in the socialization aspect of orientation. All members of the orientation team should be those who will share a positive attitude with the new employee. The new worker needs to hear constructive, upbeat messages geared toward making those good, early impressions. A well-planned orientation program takes an investment of time and effort on the part of the dairy producer. Providing a positive orientation experience during the early days of employment sets the stage for a satisfying, long-term employment relationship on your farm.
For more information on dairy farm employee management, contact: Melissa O’Rourke – ISU Extension Farm & Agribusiness Management Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 712-737-4230