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Showing posts from May, 2017

Farm Machinery Cost Estimates Publication Updated

by William F. Lazarus, Extension Economist An updated version of this publication is available online at . The tables in this publication contain estimates of farm machinery operation costs calculated via an economic engineering approach. The data are intended to show a representative farming industry cost for specified machines and operations. The list of machines, the fuel price, and the labor rates are the same as last year.  Machinery prices continue to creep upward. Have you tried the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (MACHDATA.XLSM) that goes with this publication?  It is available for downloading at . The “Calculate” and “Self-propelled” sheets in this spreadsheet can be used to calculate costs for your own situation. The spreadsheet can also be used to answer a variety of specific questions, such as: Should I keep the machine I have for another year, or should I replace it now? Which is t

Use Your Employee Handbook!

by Betty Berning Extension Educator Does your farm have an employee handbook?  I’ve talked to many dairy farmers about employee handbooks this winter.  Many farms have a handbook, which is great!  However, farmers tell me they are unsure of how to use the handbook once it’s written.  Too often, employees don’t look at the handbook or farms forget they have it and the handbook collects dust on a shelf.  An employee handbook can be a very valuable communication and labor management tool.   I’d like to propose four reasons why your farm needs to not only have an employee handbook, but also needs to actively utilize it.   An employee handbook communicates what your farm is about- In other words, what is the culture of your farm?   Business culture can be defined as values, beliefs, and behaviors that are typical of your farm. For example, if being on time is an important behavior on your farm, your handbook should reflect that.   You might have a very firm policy on tardines