Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.


Cash grain producers generally sell their grown commodities through traditional marketing outlets that set a price for delivery or allow the grower to take advantage of various price risk marketing tools (forward contracts, options, etc.). Occasionally, a neighboring dairy producer may be in need of additional feed because of a less than optimum growing season.

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There are a finite number of hours in a day – 24 to be exact. Most humans require or desire to spend 25 percent or more of those hours sleeping. That leaves up to 18 hours of alert consciousness to make the necessary decisions that impact your business, family and yourself. The approach you take to organize and prioritize those decisions goes a long way toward determining the success (or lack thereof) of your dairy business.

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This month Cooperative Resources International’s (CRI) director of consulting services Jim Henion will release the final installment of a recent DVD series called “Supervisory Skills for Managers.” Henion has spent the last three years crisscrossing the country to interview dairy producers about management.

He videotaped his interviews with nearly 50 dairy producers in 19 states during production of the series. Producers discussed management issues such as recruiting, hiring, motivation and teamwork.

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The following article is the first in a series of articles summarizing the “Supervisory Skills for Managers” DVD collection produced by Jim Henion. The series provides helpful management hints for owners and managers working with employees on dairy operations.

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Human resources have two roles in risk management. First, people are a source of risk (shortage of employees, people doing sloppy work, an employee refusing to take on additional responsibility or a key employee leaving two months after completion of a one-year training program). Second, people are important in handling risk (people using their ingenuity to solve unexpected problems, employees going the extra mile for the good of the organization, a key employee redesigning her own job to avoid unnecessary delays in getting work done or an employee persuading a talented friend to apply for a position in the business).

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On many dairy operations, consultants are an integral part of the decision-making process. Their advice can significantly improve the profitability of your dairy. Getting the most from a consultant’s advice depends on adhering to this three-step process:

1) Build a relationship with the person to establish trust and get the services you desire.

2) Do what they say. Follow through with consultant’s recommendations to solve problem areas.

3) Push the consultant to help identify the next problem areas to solve.

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