Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Enrollment

Program Areas

  • Dairy Management
  • Farm Business Management
  • Field Crops
  • Livestock & Small Farms

Enrollment Benefits

  • Telephone / Email Consultations
  • Ag Focus Newsletter
  • Direct Mailings
  • Educational Meetings & Conferences
  • In-Field Educational Opportunities
  • On-Farm Research Trials

Enrollee Login

Log In To Access:

  • Issues of Ag Focus Newsletters
  • Helpful Diagnostic Tool:
      What's wrong with my crop?

Make Some Time for Employee Management

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

Last Modified: June 14, 2013

For the most part, area dairy farms have chopped all their corn and packed all of their feed bunks. The field work is almost finished, and hopefully so are some of the tasks on the to-do list. The winter season offers dairy managers extra time to devote to other tasks such as herd health, calf care and reproduction performance. There is one task that should be on that list: employee management, especially with Hispanic employees. This task doesn't usually rate very high on the list, if it makes the list at all, but can make a great difference in employee morale, employee retention, farm efficiency and profitability. Two methods effective methods of employee management are to hold regular staff meetings and to offer individual employee evaluations.

Staff Meetings
A regular staff meeting is a great way to have a general, open forum to discuss farm issues such as overall employee performance, jobs to be done, upcoming events, scheduling, etc. Itís also a great way to bring together the entire team of employees that make the farm work. Different shifts of employees may rarely get the chance to meet each other, so the staff meeting can help get everyone on the same page and build a sense of teamwork- which is crucial to implementing a consistent milking routine. Furthermore, discussions are likely to occur in these staff meetings and questions are likely to be asked. Listen to what comes out of the discussion and be receptive to feedback from the employees. This can easily be done with the help of a bilingual person that can facilitate the meeting, even a bilingual employee of the farm could help. The farm manager should create the agenda which should be organized and planned. The meeting can be integrated with English-speaking employees, or separate meetings can be held. Remember: staff meetings should address general farm issues. Refrain from reprimanding or praising an individual in front of the group.

Employee Evaluations
In my experience, this is the most beneficial, yet commonly ignored human resource practice on dairy farms. Individualized evaluations may seem like a lot of work, but they really donít have to be. The first step is to create a checklist, rubric or other type of form that contains the criteria on which you would like to evaluate your employees. Some of these include: punctuality, cow treatment, milking routine performance, teamwork/gets along with coworkers, etc. Donít forget to leave a section for notes, as they are very helpful for the interpreter. Evaluate your employees, one by one or shift by shift and schedule meetings that fit your time schedule. 20 minutes should be enough for each employee, so schedule about 3 per hour. They donít all have to be done on the same day; itís easier if the meetings are held periodically, rotating the employees. As mentioned earlier, it is okay to use a bilingual employee to translate staff meetings. For employee evaluations, however, a third-party translator is a must. In the meetings, use direct communication and listen to the employee (not the translator.) Try to be as fair and judicious in your remarks as possible and always offer an opportunity for the employee to respond.

Staff meetings and employee evaluations, when used properly, can have enormous impact on your operation. They do require some groundwork to be done by the farm manager, but the end result is improved communication, employee productivity and teamwork. On farms where I have helped with these meetings I have seen a stark improvement in employee attitude and morale- which may be the most valuable result. Please consider these two tools for managing employees on your farm.











calendar of events

Upcoming Events

Forage Congress

February 27, 2019
10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Mt. Morris, NY

  • Climate Smart Farming Decision Tools
  • Forage Quality to Reduce Purchase Concentrate Cost.  N Management, Guidelines for Grass, Low Lignin Alfalfa, Harvest Schedule
  • Fiber Digestibility & Corn Silage Hybrid Evaluation Using Fiber & Starch Yields
  • Silage Fermentation
  • Inventory & Shrink
  • Producer Panel

view details

MANURE APPLICATOR TRAINING - DEC Approved Training for CAFO Farms, register by 2/22/2019!

February 28, 2019
9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Wyo Co Ag Bus Center, Warsaw and 1 p.m. - 3 p. m. Civil Def Bldg., Bath NY

This informational meeting is for all farm owners, family members, and employees who manage their farm's manure. All farms, regardless of size are encouraged to attend. This is a DEC approved Manure Applicator Training that is required for CAFO farms. A certificate will be provided to each farm that participates in the meeting. 
view details

Raising Healthy Livestock: The Basics of Feeding, Health, and Quality Care

March 2, 2019
10 am - 1 pm
Lockport, NY

Raising livestock can be a rewarding enterprise. There are many things to consider, including what to feed, how to keep them healthy and how to handle them. Cornell Cooperative Extension NWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops Team is holding a workshop for livestock farmers to help address these topics. 
view details


CDL Training Program For Agricultural Producers and their Employees ONLY

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, in collaboration with Genesee Valley BOCES, will be offering a CDL Training Program for both Class A and Class B licenses. This course is offered to Farm Owners, Operators, and their Employees ONLY.

Thursday, February 28, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Informational Meeting)
Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Classroom)
Thursday, March 7, 2019, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (Classroom)
Class A CDL=$ 750.00 (Enrolled in Ag Program)
Class A CDL =$ 800.00 (not enrolled in Ag Program).
Class B CDL=$ 600.00 (Enrolled in Ag Program)
Class B CDL =$ 650.00 (Not enrolled in Ag Program)
Checks payable to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County
Held at CCE-Wyoming County., 36 Center Street, Warsaw, NY 14569

The informational meeting will be held the week before the CDL training session begins, to answer any questions you may have regarding this program and to pick up the required training materials and medical forms. To register, please contact Debra Welch at 585-786-2251 or email

Wyoming County Pride of Ag Dinner - N Java Fire hall, March 2nd

For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please contact the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, 585.786.0307.

USDA to Host 2018 Farm Bill Implementation Listening Session

The listening session will be held Feb. 26, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building located at 14th Street and Independence Ave. S.W. in Washington, D.C.

The listening session is open to the public. Participants must register at by February 22, 2019, to attend the listening session and are encouraged to provide written comments prior to the listening session. For those orally presenting comments at the listening session, written comments are encouraged to be submitted to by February 22, 2019. Additional written comments will be accepted through March 1, 2019. Comments received will be publicly available on

Three Free Digester Workshops offered through CCE St. Lawrence Co.

CCE of St. Lawrence County is offering three FREE workshops showcasing the research results from our feasibility study of anaerobic digester technology on small farms. The research was conducted by our partners at Clarkson University using the anaerobic digester at the Extension Learning Farm, which is fed both manure from a dairy operation and vegetable waste from our commercial kitchen. The digester heats a small green house that starts our seedling plants. We have a small scale vegetable-only digester as well. The research and program targets small dairies under 200 head, livestock producers, horticulture producers and anyone interested in alternative energy.

Program will be held on December 5, January 7, and March 6. A catered meal is provided at each program. Participants within the North Country Region will be given a $25 stipend to help cover travel costs, those from outside the region will be given $50. To receive the stipend, participants will need to complete a pre/post-test survey.

More information and registration information can be found here:

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1