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 Becoming the Employer of Choice
for Vegetable Farmers 

Motivating and managing employees is essential to many diversified vegetable farms, and rare is the farmer who comes to this profession with those labor management skills in tow. These programs are designed to support both farm owners and hired farm managers who are eager to strengthen their hiring, supervision, and employee relations skills.


Research-based techniques and real world examples make these programs practical and useful for any vegetable farm owner or manager. Peer-to-peer discussion is core to both programs, and attendees will often learn as much from each other as they do from the trainers. 

Vegetable farm owners and managers co-created these programs, and each session is delivered by farmers and program staff.

Sarah, Apprenticeship Manager


Sarah Janes Ugoretz  (she/her),  Diversified Vegetable Educator

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“Nothing replaces the value of managing your crew well during the season - making sure you're taking care of them, supporting them, listening to them. You can't just leave that work to the end of the season and expect people to come back. BTEC has been such a transformational tool for me as a farmer and an employer. It's helped me keep this work front and center even as the season gets super busy.” - Cassie Wyss, Farm Owner at Crossroads Community Farm

Attracting and retaining workers can be tough in any sector, and vegetable farms are no exception. The work is physical, often seasonal, and not known for providing benefits like health insurance. This 9-part series will give you practical tools to make your farm an employer of choice by conducting a professional hiring experience, providing thoughtful onboarding and feedback, and supporting employees' intrinsic motivations. Most importantly, these tools will help you improve your employee relations and support an improved quality of life for both you and those you supervise. Whether you have worked with employees for many years or are in the early stages of hiring staff, this series has something for you.

Strategic Leadership:

This session explores emotional intelligence and different leadership styles – and how you can use these various skills to create a positive and rewarding work environment for both you and your employees.

Hiring the Right People:

This nuts and bolts session covers job descriptions, job applications, candidate interviews, and overall hiring protocols. A careful hiring process can attract candidates and help them succeed.


Employee Onboarding and Training:

Having formal tools and practices in place will support a smooth and professional onboarding process as new and returning employees come onto your farm. From employee handbooks and standard operating procedures to a thoughtful training plan, this session explores concrete actions you can take to set employees up for success.


Developing a Motivated Workforce:

Employees are motivated by extrinsic factors like wages and also by intrinsic factors like achievement, curiosity, and pride. This session examines internal motivation and details numerous ways you can support motivation on your farm.  


Farm Business Culture:

Your farm has a unique culture, and you are a big part of defining and conveying that culture to employees. We will explore your farm business culture and then talk through steps you can take to support trust, respect, creativity, and other elements of a positive work environment.  


Reviews and Feedback:

Providing employees with regular feedback is critical, and it can also be uncomfortable! This session provides practical tools to help you get comfortable with this very important aspect of being an employer. 


Managing Conflict:

When left unaddressed, unhealthy conflict can have long-lasting consequences. In this session, we explore common sources of conflict on the farm, our different styles of dealing with conflict, and how to actively move towards conflict resolution. 


Building Intercultural Competence as Farm Employers:

Communicating across differences can be both scary and tricky. This session explores some common missteps and offers suggestions for how to avoid them. 

 Are you a farm owner or experienced manager interested in this training?
Are you an organization that would like to connect farmers to this training?
Let us know! CLICK HERE and we’ll be in touch.

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Meet the Trainers!

Farmer Trainers:

  • David Bachhuber, Lovefood Farm in Stoughton, WI

  • Kat Becker, Cattail Organics in Athens, WI

  • Katie Bishop, PrairiErth Farm in Atlanta, IL

  • Stacey Botsford, Red Door Family Farm in Athens, WI

  • Robyn Calvey, Park Ridge Organics in Fond du Lac, WI

  • Linda Halley, Gwenyn Hill Farm in Waukesha, WI

  • Kristen Kordet, Blue Moon Community Farm in Stoughton, WI

  • Michelle Week, Good Rain Farm (X̌ast Sq̓it) in Portland, OR

  • Cassie Wyss, Crossroads Community Farm in Cross Plains, WI

Program Staff:

  • Sarah Janes Ugoretz, UW Extension - Dane County & FairShare CSA Coalition

Interested in more Employee Management opportunities?
The TEAMs program is for current and aspiring managers on vegetable farms

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