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Showing posts from March, 2017

Finding and Keeping Good Employees- It Can Be Done!

by Betty Berning Extension Educator One of the top issues I hear about from farmers is labor management.  Most people aren’t farmers because they wanted to manage employees.  Most farmers want to FARM.  As farms grow, though, more help (and management!) is required.  Enter employees.  For an operation to be successful as it grows, owners must accept that they will need to spend more time on management activities, like human resources.  I hear about human resource struggles- even from farmers that have embraced their role as “farm manager”.  It is hard to find good employees and it is hard to retain them.  The agricultural industry pays less than other comparable industries.  Minnesota mean hourly wage data from May 2015 indicates farmworkers on farms with animals were paid $12.58/hour.  Compare that to a construction laborers’ mean hourly wage of $17.57/hour during that same time.  That’s a difference of almost $5/hour.  In addition, farm work is physically demanding and can b

Minnesota Farms Continue to Get Larger and Fewer

by David Bau, Extension Educator Last month the USDA came out with estimated number of farms in Minnesota declining by 300 from 73,600 in 2015 to 73,300 in 2016. The total amount of land in farms was constant, but the average farm size increased by one acre per farm from 352 acres in 2015 to 353 in 2016. Looking back 20 years there were an estimated 87,000 farms in Minnesota with an average size of 343 acres in 1997. Total land in farms declined from 29,800,000 acres in 1997 to 25,900,000 acres in 2016. What is surprising is how the numbers varied by size group.  Small farms less than $10,000 in gross sales declined from 33,000 in 1997 to 26,500 in 2016. Farms from $10,000 to $99,999 gross sales declined from 31,000 in 1997 to 21,600, but farms with over $100,000 increased from 23,000 in 1997 to 25,200. Comparing land in farms by size indicates small farms under $10,000 in sales in 1997 was 3,200,000 acres and 2,100,000 in 2016, while farms with gross income from $10,000 to $99,9