Finding help on the farm continues to be an issue for many Indiana operations, especially the dairy industry. Indiana Dairy Producers Executive Director Doug Leman says the labor issue is right up there with the economic issues facing dairy producers.
“Yeah- the economics are horrible and those have to change and get better, but the overlying problem on many farms right now is labor. It’s hard to find workers. Most people have jobs, and this has not gotten easier over the last few years.”
Leman says we need to fix our immigration system and the organization remains in support of that to find more workers. However, a new wrinkle in hiring employees has come into play now after Fair Oaks Farms announced last week that animal activists went undercover on their farm to obtain and create damning videos. Leman told Hoosier Ag Today that this could happen on any farm, large or small, and you must be vigilant.
“Be very thorough in screening applicants. Ask for references. Check those references. Check on social media and see if you can find anything. Does something seem out of line about this person? Do they seem overly qualified but maybe yet overly zealous to get into position?”
There are organizations that closely monitor activities like going undercover and keep names on file. Leman says Indiana Dairy Producers belongs to such an organization and producers should reach out to him if they have questions.
“I actually have access to some lists, they’re secure lists, but folks can actually call me and say, ‘Does this employee raise concerns? Do they have a history of trying to work undercover?”
You can contact Leman via email at dougleman@IndianaDairy.org if you have questions.