Friday, February 01, 2013

Family farms need to be more businesslike, even with personnel, agricultural economist says

Family farms need to think and act more like businesses, hiring and keeping the best employees through modern methods, to survive in an increasingly competitive world, Bernie Erven, professor emeritus in the department of agricultural economics at The Ohio State Universitytold farmers at the Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference.

"The message may be a tough sell," reports Jessica Stoller-Conrad of NPR. "Family farms are an iconic American institution, and they make up nearly 96 percent of farms in America, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And it's hard for some folks to hear that the best hire might not be your sister's kid who needs a summer job baling hay."

Erven told the farmers, "If you hire a family member who isn't qualified, who doesn't fit the position, and maybe doesn't even want the position, then it's . . . unlikely the person would succeed. Thus [it's] not helping the business and not helping the family." (Read more)

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