Personal Column

Phillip Durst
Sr. Extension Dairy & Beef Educator

As dairy farms have grown larger, milking more cows and employing more people, the role of the owners and managers is increasingly that of managing the farm through people. That is a challenge for many farmers who need to further develop a range of skills in managing employees. These columns were written to address common issues on dairy farms; hiring anyone just to fill a need, and putting up with many problems caused by employees. The columns were written by this author based on my work with Michigan State University Extension in farm employee management and my experience talking with farmers. They were written exclusively for Hoard’s Dairyman magazine and accepted by the editor for publication. Through Hoard’s, these columns reach a large audience. The magazine is sent to more than 51,000 homes, farms and businesses nationally and internationally. I challenge farmers on what might be their typical response to these issues, to get them to think differently about problems. It was evident that was accomplished, when I received a note from a large dairy owner in another state with the subject "Love, love, LOVE your message" and a note that said; "We try this at (our farm). I will share it with my two younger partners."