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Showing posts from June, 2021

Two Questions Every Farm Employee Has

 by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Agricultural Business Management Every employee needs their employer to answer two questions: What performance is expected of me? and Am I meeting expectations/(winning)? To answer both of these questions, measurements need to be implemented.  To fully answer these questions, employees need timely, high-quality feedback from their employers to know what they are doing properly. It also requires  pre-specified quantified performance expectations to compare with the actual performance. Even having a job description isn't enough to thoroughly answer the two questions, employers need to tell the employee if they are adequate at their role. For a dairy operation, an employee might milk cows twice during their shift. Just knowing that they are completing the task of getting the cows milked isn't enough to answer these questions. Is the employee milking in a proper way and how the employer expects them to? Are they milking in a timely manner? Thi

Leadership on the Farm

 by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Agricultural Business Management What makes a great leader and how can we learn to be better leaders on our farm? Great farms require both management and leadership. The transition from an operations manager to a leader can be difficult. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder while leaders determine whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. Farm management is getting the most bushels per acre with the lowest amount of inputs while leadership on the farm is how we approach making sure the farm is sustainable in the long term. Leadership is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and improved. Knowing your own and your employees' leadership styles can help you to better lead your farm and tailor tasks to empower informal leadership with your employees. Before we discuss the six types of leadership styles, take the  leadership styles questionnaire. 6 Leadership Styles The leadership style questionnaire is adapted from Dr. Dav

Applying for loan forgiveness from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and PPP tax updates

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator (see note) Farmers' Market Veggies If you got a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP 1 or PPP 2) loan, now may be time to consider the PPP loan forgiveness process. PPP loan forgiveness is not automatic. You must apply for it with the lender from which you received your loan. The window to apply for PPP loan forgiveness while principal + 1% interest payments are deferred is 10 months after the last day of the maximum 24-week “covered period” for your loan. If you miss the 10-month window, you can still apply for loan forgiveness, but you will begin making payments to your lender until loan forgiveness is approved. Your final opportunity to apply for loan forgiveness is the maturity date of your PPP loan, which is either two or five years depending on the date of your PPP disbursement. Many of the general details of forgiveness are available at the Small Business Administration's PPP website . To learn more about the PPP loan forgiveness from an

Finding Your Communication Style

 by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Agricultural Business Management Knowing your own and your employees' communication styles can help you to better communicate with your employee. Tailoring your conversations better to employee's styles will improve understanding and reduce mishaps. The four communication styles highlight our preferences and identify how we most frequently communicate. This doesn't mean that we are limited to only one style, but instead, that we are most comfortable using this style to communicate our needs and beliefs. Before reading about the four communication styles, take the  personal communication inventory question. 4 Communication Styles Robert Younker, a project management professional, creating the communication style theory based on the four ways that individuals process information: action, process, people, and ideas.  Action For action-oriented farm employees, focus on the results first and get to the point when communicating. Make sure to

Communicating Effectively on the Farm

  by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Ag Business Management Communication Word Cloud We spend 70% of the time that we are awake engaged in some form of communication.  E ffective communication is the groundwork for having proper leadership and employee management. If you can't communicate effectively with your employees and tell them what you expect of them, tell them what they should be doing on a day-to-day basis. How do you ever expect them to do so and how can you more effectively communicate? Communication needs to be open and honest. When possible, effective communication is a two-way interaction that involves bothparties talking and listening. Everyone needs to be willing to start the discussion and allowed to honestly share their thoughts without fear of repercussions or retalation.  Good communication can improve relationships on your farm and help you achieve your goals.  With strong communication, employees are more willing to give  feedback on how to improve an area

The Art of Active Listening

  by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Ag Business Management Judges Actively Listening to 4-H Member Communication involves more than just talking, it also requires intentional listening. Active listening fosters open communication and growth between people by focusing on both the content of the message and underlying feelings. To listen actively requires listening for the content and emotions behind a message while providing feedback on both.  Listening skills can be improved through intentional practice. Before replying to the speaker, take a one to two-second pause. This pause shows the speaker that you are carefully listening to them instead of preparing your response. The pause can avoid the risk of interrupting the speaker and helps you to hear the speaker better. In addition to pausing before replying, ask open questions. Questions such as, "tell me more" or "what did you mean when you said" indicates that you are seeker further clarity and engaged in the c