AmericanFarm.com

Employers receive tips on hiring, training

By JANE PRIMERANO
AFP Correspondent

LINCROFT (Feb. 15, 20116) —  “Good employers are the structure of good employees,” is the way Mike Rassweiler of North Slope Farm in Lambertville explained his management strategy during a brown-bag lunch session at the Northeast Organic Farming Association-NJ Winter Conference.
Rassweiler has been managing employees for 20 years.
He noted low-wage seasonal workers are important to every farm and advocated farmers look for interns on the NOFA-NJ website but also in other places, such as Rutgers or on Craigslist.
The Internal Revenue Service defines an employee as one who does work for you, follows directions and uses your tools.
Rassweiler defines a good employee as one who does the work neatly and efficiently, listens to instructions and remembers how things worked when he or she did the job before.
A good employee reminds the employer of things that went well, and didn’t, makes suggestions and understands both long- and short-term goals.
The decision each employer must make is if he or she wants an experienced employee who must be paid more or someone who can be trained for the specifics of the farm.
It is easier to find untrained sources. North Slope is a vegetable farm. Rassweiler needs to figure out how many employees he needs at each point of the season.
He then sets both fixed and flexible schedules.  He stressed the importance about being flexible during slow times to maintain loyalty during busy times.
Each employer must decide on whether to provide housing for employees, he added.