Earlier this month I attended the 25th Annual National Workshop for Dairy Economists and Policy Analysts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was an opportunity to hear many of the folks I read in the national journals and then ask them questions directly.
Maristela Rovai, assistant professor & South Dakota State University Extension dairy specialist has some steps farmers can take to help their employees get through this storm safely.
- Encourage employees to wear appropriate clothing. This includes layering up and ensuring as little skin is exposed to the elements as possible. This tip sheet by South Dakota State extension explains appropriate winter clothing in English and Spanish.
- Offer frequent breaks to help employees warm up. While your barn staff will spend most of the day inside, employees that work on the outside crew will need frequent short breaks to come inside and let their body temperatures warm up, according to www.allonehealth.com.
- Consider offering warm beverages and snacks. Hot drinks like coffee and tea can go a long way in keeping employees warm while they work outside. Also, just like a calf, the human body burns more calories trying to stay warm than it does during mild weather. Offer employees calorie rich snacks.
- Implement a buddy system for outside work. Employers should consider asking employees to work outside in pairs, so they can keep an eye out for symptoms of hypothermia and frost bite.
Dr. Hugo Ramirez, ISU Extension Dairy Specialist, will outline the importance of consistency when handling animals and teaching employees the reasons for specific protocols. He will discuss why farm guidebooks and manuals are especially vital in a tight labor market.
The second topic is risk management education, especially information on the new Dairy Revenue Protection program, LGM, contracts and other risk management tools. Ron Mortensen from Dairy Gross Margin, LLC, will lead the discussion and answer questions.
Bob Naerebout, with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, will discuss responsible immigration reform. His role with the Idaho Dairymen’s Association is to lead the IDA in its government affairs and he continues to serve on various national dairy industry boards. Many of those boards’ primary goal is to see responsible immigration reform successfully moved forward. Naerebout currently serves on the Executive Committees of both the National Immigration Forum and the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform. He is also a committee member of the University of Idaho Latino Advisory Committee and the National Milk Producers Federation Immigration Taskforce. Through his engagements surrounding immigration reform, Naerebout and the IDA have become widely recognized as a leader in the immigration reform debate.
ISU Extension Dairy Specialist Fred M. Hall will discuss current trends in the milk market and offer some useful benchmarks for dairymen as they evaluate their enterprise.
The day will begin with registration at 9:00 a.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office located at 400 Central Avenue Northwest in Orange City, and will conclude around 2:00 p.m.
There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is required by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office at 712-737-4230. Deadline for registration is 12:00 noon on Friday, November 30.
As dairy operations increase animal numbers, they have also increased dependence on a larger labor pool. That labor pool has become less dominated by family members, and more dependent on foreign born labor (FBL) There undoubtedly would be benefits, however, there is significant risk for the dairy industry in any immigration legislation.
The Dairy Directions Seminars are scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11 in Sac County and Wednesday, Dec. 12 in Pocahontas County. Both programs will be held at the local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office.
Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. and the program begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. A free lunch is included, and the program will adjourn at 1:45 p.m.
The Dairy Discussions: Risk Management and Labor Issues program is set for Tuesday, Dec. 4 at the Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach – Sioux County office in Orange City.
Sit down with any Northwest Iowa livestock producer- dairy, swine, beef or poultry- and the topic of labor is sure to surface in the conversation. Everybody has the solution for how agriculture can find and keep a dependable labor force, just ask any national, state or local politician. But each has a perspective for the solution that often doesn’t recognize or jive with the issues identified by employees or employers.
National Editor Tom Karst of The Packer noted one Center for Migration Study that undocumented workers are leaving the country. The recent study indicates a sharp decline in the U.S. undocumented population over a six-year period.
Laurie Fischer, CEO of American Dairy Coalition spoke to WIDA members at their annual meeting last night, highlighting what she is working on in immigration legislation in Washington as a lobbyist on behalf of dairymen.
NW Iowa dairyman Galen Fick was part of an IPTV interview on milk subsidies. Listen here: