Agriculture News

February 19, 2019

Program to help farm managers become 'Employer of Choice'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In addition to all the daily responsibilities of keeping an agricultural operation running, farm managers and owners also have to become human resource specialists in their quest to find and retain the best employees.

To help develop those skills, Purdue Extension-Kosciusko County will offer the Becoming the Employer of Choice program on March 7. The popular program is designed to improve human resource skills through hands-on activities and interactive sessions.

"A key issue we identified in our area is the tight labor market and lack of labor currently available," said Kelly Heckaman, Purdue Extension educator in Kosciusko County. "You have to objectively ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses as a manager and if your farm or business is the kind of place where people want to work. This program will help managers become an employer of choice that can successfully compete for the best available employees."

Becoming the Employer of Choice will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Eastern time at the county Extension office, located at 202 W. Main St. in Warsaw. Course instructors are from University of Wisconsin Extension, which developed the program.

Attendees will gain effective and practical approaches to managing human resource challenges on the farm. The program consists of seven modules addressing how different leadership styles are used on the farm; reducing mis-hires and turnover through hiring best practices; learning about organizational culture and how it impacts employee motivation and engagement; identifying keys to create a motivating environment; learning how to effectively communicate expectations to employees; developing skills to provide effective feedback; and learning ways to address and work through conflict.

The registration deadline is Feb. 27 and can be completed online at The cost is $75 for the first registrant and $25 per person for additional attendees from the same operation. The fee includes handouts, program resources and lunch. After Feb. 27, the registration fee increases by $10.

If you have questions about this event, contact Heckaman at or 574-372-2340. 

Media contact: Maureen Manier, Purdue Agricultural Communication, 

Source: Kelly Heckaman, 574-372-2340,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

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