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|1106 EL: Communicating for Success|
|El Lechero Elements - Herdsman spotlight|
|Written by Kris Costa|
|Tuesday, 31 October 2006 17:00|
Success can be measured in many ways. For Greg Anema, partner at Jorritsma and Anema Dairy in Ontario, California, success is having a strong relationship with his employees.
He knows education, training and strong communication skills are crucial in order to have employees that will be an asset to his business.
Anema’s interest in the dairy industry began at a young age. He always enjoyed trips to his uncle’s dairy with his family when he was a child. After college, Anema worked a couple of different jobs, but 10 years ago his uncle, Dick Jorristma, offered him a full-time position as ranch worker/herdsman for Jorritsma’s 800 milking cow dairy.
Six years ago, Anema became a partner in what is now Jorritsma and Anema Dairy, a herd consisting of 1600 milking cows and a total of 4000 head including support stock on three separate locations. No matter how much success one has, the dairy industry offers daily challenges.
“Having three separate facilities is a major challenge in general,” states Anema. “We face day-to-day challenges of managing our labor force on three locations, and because the facilities were built in the 60s they require constant maintenance.”
To help alleviate the workload of labor management, three years ago Anema added a herdsman/manager, Reyes Certa. For many reasons, Certa was an ideal choice to serve in this management role. Certa had a willingness to learn and take direction.
With Certa’s long time employment of 26 years, he had worked his way into a management role and his time at the dairy helped him to learn and develop philosophies that were in unison with his employers. His bilingual background was an added bonus that plays a key role in employee communication.
“My role has a lot of challenges, like constant supervision of employees, which requires a lot of patience and communication,” states Certa.
As manager Certa wears many hats, but his main priority is to take care of the fresh cows, including close-ups. He works daily with Anema to ensure he meets his goals of overall herd health and is in constant contact with nutritionists and veterinarians that assist him in his role.
“Working with fresh cows and nutrition has been a learning experience for me and a challenge, but Greg is always supportive and he communicates well with me,” comments Certa. “Greg and Dick have encouraged me to learn, taught me how to be a better manager and communicated with me when mistakes were made so I could learn from each experience.”
For Anema, hands-on experience is the key to success when training employees on the job. Most of the employee training is done in-house through Anema, veterinarians and nutritionists who offer milker and calf pulling schools. To help Certa adjust into his role, he attended herdsman short courses through California State University, Fresno.
“Each day is a learning experience and I enjoy my job at the dairy because I get to work outside, help other employees learn new things and I am building relationships with other industry people such as vets and nutritionists,” says Certa.
In order for a dairy to be successful, owners must work closely with their herdsman and employees. So, what’s Anema’s secret to success?
“Daily communication with all employees is what works best for me. But daily communication is more than giving orders; it includes speaking to employees with an open mind and listening to their concerns.”
He continues, “Having a good, open, honest relationship with them contributes to the success of the dairy in the long run. You want your employees to work for you, not against you.”
Anema is not only an employer but also a leader. He sets a positive example for his manager and employees and teaches each of them that communication is necessary and important for a successful business.
With education, training and excellent communication, Anema has built a strong team that will be an asset for his business for many years. EL