Department of Agricultural Economics Extension

Farm Labor

Employment in agriculture can be both the most challenging and most rewarding path one can take. Providing food, fiber, and fuel to a growing world while working in concert with nature can provide the farm and ranch employee with immense fulfillment. At the same time, though, the things that can make agricultural work so enjoyable can also provide significant adversity. Thus, many farmers and ranchers can be heard uttering that old saying “good help is hard to find these days.” There are a number of obstacles facing agricultural employers, ranging from the fact that rural areas with smaller populations may simply have a smaller pool of qualified job candidates to the numerous variables in farm employment itself.

Our team has worked to pull these tools together in the Farm Labor Management handbook so that you will have a simple and easy-to-use guide for managing your operation’s human resources. Here, you will find tips for determining your farm’s human resource needs, finding the employees that fit those needs, bringing those employees “up to speed” quickly, and helping them develop as a part of your operation. These resources are organized to coincide with the chapters of the handbook:

  • Assessing Human Resource Needs for the Farm and Ranch
  • Recruiting, Interviewing, and Hiring
  • Managing, Developing, and Incentivizing Your Employees
  • Dealing With Difficult Employment Issues
  • We hope you will find these tools useful as you work to make the best possible use of your farm’s most important resource: its people!

    Farm Labor Handbook

    Download a complete copy of the Farm Labor Handbook here.

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