Man management

Published 28 June 10

Recruiting, managing and retaining good staff has become increasingly important as herd numbers increase and technology advances. Andy Dodd, DairyCo extension officer in the Midlands has worked with Cedar Associates to put together a course to help dairy farmers get the best from their staff. 

"Many dairy units have seen expansions into the 150-200 and beyond head range, meaning that they can no longer rely just on family labour," says Andy. "In many cases farmers are employing staff for the first time and we've designed this course, which runs over three days, six weeks apart, to help give them the confidence to develop their labour management skills.

"The first day of the course looks at leading and motivating staff. It aims to help farmers motivate and develop their staff to become one of the biggest assets they have. The day looks at how to give good directions in order to make sure your team is working at its best and how to delegate well, not always the easiest thing to do!" he says.

"The second day of the course looks at effective communication," Andy continues. "This day helps you to develop your questioning and listening skills as well as identify the benefits of assertive behaviour. The day also looks at your rights and responsibilities as an employer."

The third day covers team building and demonstrates the benefits successful teamwork can bring to your business and how to achieve it. It looks at the role of co-operation and competition within the work place. This offers producers the chance to look at their staffing situation at home and see how it can be developed.

"If your staff are happy and motivated you will get more from them, and will keep them for longer," says Andy. "A lot of the course is quite hands-on and it also offers the chance to learn from other farmers' mistakes or successes. The course is fundamentally about guiding people to find their own style of management within the boundaries of best practice."

The course run this spring was based in Gloucestershire and pulled farmers from across the Midlands. If you're interested in attending a similar event near you please call Andy Dodd on 07759 586321 or email him at

DairyCo has a range of human resource templates that can provide the blueprint for everything from putting together a job description, to the right questions to ask at interviews and how to handle the disciplinary process. They can be downloaded from the Library section of the website.

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