Cheap is expensive! Hire quality farm employees for more yields

Raymond Sirma, manager at Makongi Farm, Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County with dairy cows. [Nanjinia Wamuswa, Standard]

The success of any livestock farming operation depends on many factors. They include quality of the animals, availability of resources, and expertise of the employees. More often than not, the knowledge, skills, and motivation of the employees are overlooked yet it is a critical component for farm success. But why it is important to invest in quality livestock farming employees?

To improve efficiency and productivity

Quality livestock farming employees can improve the efficiency and productivity of the operation. A skilled workforce can identify and implement best practices to maximise the use of resources, reduce waste, and improve yields. They can also monitor the animals' performance, adjust their diets and breeding programmes, and manage the production cycle to optimise output. This can result in higher quality products, reduced costs, and increased profits.

Welfare of animals

A knowledgeable and skilled workforce can identify the signs of illness or injury in animals, notify management for appropriate treatment and care of animals, and prevent the spread of diseases. They can also manage the animals' living conditions, ensuring that they have adequate space, ventilation, and access to water and feed. All these contribute to the well-being of the animals, which is essential for their growth, productivity, and profitability.

Manage risk

Livestock farming is a risky business, and unforeseen events such as disease outbreaks or natural disasters can have a significant impact on the enterprise. Quality employees can help to manage these risks by implementing appropriate biosecurity measures and ensuring that the farm infrastructure is maintained and prepared for any potential emergencies.

Boost reputation of the business

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the welfare of animals and the environmental impact of farming practices. A skilled workforce can ensure that the animals are treated humanely and that the operation adheres to environmental and ethical standards. This can improve the operation's reputation, attract more customers, and increase demand for its products.

Provide opportunities for innovation and growth

Quality farming employees can provide opportunities for innovation and growth. A skilled workforce can identify new opportunities, such as niche markets or new product lines, and develop strategies to capitalise on them. They can also identify and implement new technologies, such as precision farming or genetic selection, to improve the operation's efficiency and productivity. To get quality employees, follow the adage: "...hire for attitude and train for skill". Attitude is everything when it comes to working on a livestock farm. The job is physically demanding, and it requires employees who are willing to work long hours in all kinds of weather conditions.

Moreover, livestock farming is an industry that requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Therefore, it is essential to hire employees who possess the right attitude and are willing to learn and grow with the business. While attitude is crucial, it is also essential to train employees to develop the necessary skills to perform their job effectively. Livestock farming is a complex industry that requires a wide range of skills, from animal husbandry to farm management. Therefore, it is essential to provide your employees with the training they need to acquire these skills and stay up to date with the latest industry developments.

[The writer is a Veterinary Surgeon and The Resident Vet at Farmkenya]

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