Hiring Seasonal Farm Workers

Running a farm often involves hiring seasonal labor. While these type of employees can be a lifesaver on the farm, the wrong hire can cause tremendous headaches.

If you are looking to hire some extra help, you will likely place an ad in the local newspaper or online or may place signs around town. Word-of-mouth also is a popular method of finding seasonal labor. No matter how you get the word out, you can be sure that you will get a variety of applicants—from college students to retirees and from the very experienced to the very inexperienced.

Even the most seasoned human resources professionals don’t get it right all of the time, so it is no wonder that you may have a tough time knowing who to hire. To help you in your hiring quest, here are some things to consider before you make any decisions:

  1. Are they experienced? It is important to find out not only if a prospective worker has farming experience, but also what type of experience. Gardening in the backyard, for example, will do little to prepare an individual for the rigors of strenuous farm work. Ask about specific experience—for both your sakes. Inexperienced workers are more likely to quit without notice or get injured on the job.
  2. What is expected? When hiring any worker, it is essential that this person knows what will be expected of him or her. A complete list of job duties and other general expectations will help anyone applying know whether he or she will be able to handle the job. Just talking in generalities is not enough, you need to be clear about what exactly will be expected day in and day out.
  3. How are their references? It’s not enough to ask for references, you need to follow up on those references. While many former employers will—for legal reasons—only give dates of employment, that can still be helpful in determining if a person has a solid work record. If a past employer is willing to give you more information, ask questions such as, “Would you hire this person again?” If a person has no references, this is a huge red flag.
  4. What do you have to offer? While it’s true that you are interviewing this person, it is important that you make it clear that you have something to offer, as well. When farmers list things like a living wage, a friendly atmosphere, etc., the position will be much more attractive to applicants. And it is important to remember, in almost all cases, if a worker feels valued and appreciated, he or she will do the best job possible.

Hiring seasonal workers can take a lot of time and effort for what is a relatively short-term job. However, a hardworking, experienced farm worker can do wonders for your operation so you must be diligent in who you choose.

The marketing world can have a huge impact on what consumers consume. Take red meat for example. After being shunned for the last decade or so by many people looking for what they consider healthier protein options—mainly chicken and turkey—red meat is seeing a resurgence.

Leslie Patton of Bloomberg writes that several new menu items at restaurant chains, as well as the growing popularity of more protein-centric diets such as the Paleo Diet, are helping to turn the tide. Many upscale eateries also are jumping on the red meat bandwagon, offering exotic variations on red meat to entice patrons to choose it for their main course.

Patton’s article, Red Meat, It’s What’s for Dinner Again, cites data from the USDA that says that Americans will eat an estimated 54.3 pounds of the red meat in 2016—the first increase since 2006 and almost half a pound more per person than last year.

It’s more than just protein-centric diets and new menu items that are turning the tide back toward red meat. Lower prices also are contributing to the trend.

At the start of 2014, U.S. cattle supplies were the lowest in more than six decades after years of drought in the South and Southwest. The shortage sent beef prices surging to records. Since then, ranchers have been able to raise more cattle, and the latest USDA numbers show herds at a five-year high.

That’s helping to drive prices down. In February, a pound of uncooked ground beef retailed for $4.38, about 7 percent below a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

All of this proves that the power of marketing, combined with some good deals, can have a huge impact on the AG industry.


When it comes to starting your own Ag business, there are a lot of unknowns. Perhaps the biggest unknown, however, is how you will attract customers.

Unfortunately, no matter how long you remain in business, the quest for new customer never ends. Even those lucky Ag business owners, who are so busy they have to turn away new customers, understand this may not last forever and the need to search out new clients can arise at any time.

While you may believe that your Ag product or service should “sell itself,” in most cases, it won’t. Therefore, no matter how little you can afford, you must dedicate some amount of money for marketing. The key is to make sure that you put your money to good use. In other words, set goals and continually track results to make sure you are meeting those goals.

If you do not invest in marketing, it will be almost impossible to build a client base. Here are some of the best ways to attract new customers—whether you have been in business a few weeks or a few years:

  • Watch conversions like a hawk. Every marketing campaign must be tracked to see what methods work the best. If a particular promotion works well, for example a 20 percent discount on a regular-priced item, keep it going. If you find that the response to a particular promotion is low, switch gears and reinvest those marketing dollars into another strategy.
  • Don’t skimp on content marketing. Quality content helps to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry and attracts visitors to your website. The problem is, if the content is poor, or your posts sporadic, people will quickly move on. If you don’t have the time or ability to write compelling content, you should consider partnering with a marketing solutions firm well-versed in Ag issues to write your content for you.
  • Take a hard look at your pricing model. Sometimes you are charging too much and people just can’t afford your product or services. Conversely, if your prices are too low people may view your products as poorly made. It may take some research but you need to discover at what price point the most sales are made.
  • Use promo codes and referral programs. These types of programs can really pay off when it comes to getting customers and sales leads to make their first purchase. Once they do, however, it will be easier for you sell to them again and again.
  • Get social. Find out the names of the key thought leaders in the Ag industry and follow them on social media. Engage with these thought leaders, retweet and favorite their tweets, and share their Facebook posts. Chances are they will return the favor, garnering more attention for your business. Further, you should always encourage customers and visitors to your website to follow you on social media so you can connect and engage with them.

Finally, while it has been said over and over again, it costs much more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one. Once you gain a new customer, offer the type of products and customer service that will keep these farmers and ranchers coming back for more.




Marketing your agricultural products and services takes time and effort. Unfortunately, many Ag marketers work so hard at explaining the benefits of what they are selling, they often overlook one of the most important aspects of marketing: an effective call-to-action.

Strong calls-to-action are imperative for farmers and ranchers considering one of your products or services because they let them know what they should do next. When compelling and persuasive, calls-to-action are hard to resist and impel farmers and ranchers to click or respond to what you are selling. Weak calls-to-action, on the other hand, are almost always overlooked or even ignored.

Writing a compelling call-to-action is especially important when marketing to farmers and ranchers who don’t have time to waste searching for the best way to learn more about a product or service or to purchase it on the spot. In light of this fact, always pay attention to these guidelines for clear-cut calls-to-action:

  • Don’t mince words. Call today! Download immediately! These are two examples of straightforward calls-to-action.
  • Let them know it’s worth their time. Farmers and ranchers, in particular, want to know that if they click on a call-to-action it is a good use of their time. Will it solve a problem? Will it save time and money? Further, if you make a promise in your call-to-action you better make good on it! Farmers and ranchers have no time for businesses that are not completely upfront.
  • Give an incentive to act quickly. Purchase today and get free shipping!
  • Go big. Small, hard to find buttons at the bottom of a page aren’t going to do the trick. Instead, place calls-to-action in prominent locations. You also would do well to make it obvious where to click. This can be accomplished with things like borders and shadows. And make sure that your call-to-action doesn’t blend in with your page. Use colors and fonts that work well with your design but that also pop off the page. White space around the buttons can help, as well.

Chances are that you will have to experiment with calls-to-action before settling on one or two that your sales leads respond to. If a particular call-to-action doesn’t seem to be working well, try another one. Strong calls-to-action will do wonders for your business so it is important to get them right.