Teams are pivotal to farm success

Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

Assemble a team and set up a meeting

 

Herdsman

Your herdsman is the person you depend on to keep your farm running smoothly. If you have employees, including them in your team is a must. Your herdsman can help relay messages from the team meetings to the rest of your employees. In addition, it shows your employees that you value their position on your farm and want them to be a part of the organization.

Nutritionist

Your nutritionist plays a key role in the health and productivity of your cows. Most likely, you are meeting with them regularly already as you tweak diets and consider feed inventory. This is a person who should be aware of what’s happening in other areas of your farm as well. From an economic standpoint, you are spending the most money on your feed, so the person helping with your biggest expense should understand how that works into the bigger puzzle of the entire farm.

 

Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is a vital part of keeping your cows healthy. Most vets are regular visitors of the farm, and have a good understanding of what is going on with the cows. They are helpful team members as they can offer recommendations related to the cows and how they are managed. They also can provide insight into costs of healthcare.

Breeder

Your breeder is likely on the farm more than both your nutritionist and vet. Similar to your veterinarian, they have a good understanding of how the cows are managed on a daily basis. Breeding is an important part of farm productivity and often other members of your team may not be aware of the farm’s reproductive program. Having your breeder around will ensure everyone knows and understands the goals of your program.

Lender

Your lender may not be on the farm regularly, but they are no less important than any other team member listed here. It’s no secret that without your lender, you might not be able to farm. Keep them in the loop and invite them to the table with your other team members to ensure they understand what is working and what isn’t on your farm. Providing your lender with as much information as possible allows them support you and work with you on a more friendly basis.

Farm Business Management Instructor

If you are enrolled in a farm business management program, then you should make sure your FBM instructor is included on your team. Not only do they understand the business side of your farm, they also have an idea of the daily operation as well. Additionally, they may be able to connect you and the rest of your team to valuable resources.

Hoof Trimmer

Your hoof trimmer should also be included on your team. A unique thing about hoof trimmers is they can tie together several aspects of your farm. They know your schedule and management style, and can offer insight on nutrition, health, and cow comfort.

Crop Consultant

Some farms may have a crop consultant who works with the nutritionist. They should also be included in your team as they can give insight on the crop portion of your farm business. It is an integral part of feeding your cows, so make sure you include them on your team.

Creamery Field Representative

Your field rep is a valuable resource with information on marketing, premiums, and regulations—among other things. Their experience in the field and on other farms can assist your team in brainstorming and goal setting.

Dairy Equipment Specialist

Your dairy equipment specialist brings a unique understanding of the mechanics of milking your cows. They offer an irreplaceable perspective related to equipment and milking facilities. Also, they can assist your team in working through any problems related to milk quality.

Extension Educator

Check with your county office if there is a local educator or regional educator that you could visit with. Like all of the professionals listed here, Extension Educators spend a lot of time on many farms, and they may have some ideas based on what they have seen. Just like your FBM instructor, educators also have access to a wide range of resources and educational materials.

Once you have assembled your team, set up a meeting! It’s important for everyone to meet one another and learn more about what your goals for the farm are. Allow everyone an opportunity to offer their perspective and ideas. Set a regular meeting schedule so the team can stay focused on helping you reach your goals.

Your farm team is so much more than you, your family, and your employees. Bring together all your resources and remember, “Together Everyone Achieves More.”