6 Ways to Recruit Talent in the Agriculture Industry

A major agriculture company recently complained to me that they had over 3000 jobs to fill in the Midwest and they could not find trained talent who were willing to take these jobs.

I know this might sound crazy if you are someone looking for a job or if you are in an industry where you are laying people off rather than having jobs to fill. However the media doesn't report on the jobs that are available they are more likely to report on the loss of jobs in America.

As a consultant and trainer in the agriculture industry (I grew up on a working farm so I have first hand knowledge of the mentality of agriculture people) I told the CEO on the phone that they had a PR problem. Interestingly about two weeks later there was nevs media coverage on CNN about jobs available in the agriculture industry.

There are a number of reasons why recruiting and retention is a challenge in the agriculture industry such as younger generations like Generation Y (those in their 20's) are shying away from labor jobs and are more attracted to technological fields and that Generation X (those in their 30's) do not want to be away from their families for long periods of time and thirdly that Zoomers (Baby boomers 50 and to about 28) are retiring.

But these reasons do not have to be seen as a negative when looking to recruit and retain specifically for the agriculture industry, rather there is an opportunity to focus and 'sell' the positives to each of the demographics so that we are providing custom lifestyle values that will entice talent to the industry.

Here are 6 ways to recruit in the agriculture industry:

1. Build your recruitment campaigns around the values of each of the generations. For example driving a tractor today is very different than it used to be. Today's equipment is tricked out with the latest technology- users can access the web, use auto functions and have increased safety. This needs to be communicated to Generation Y's who can accept repetitive work tasks (like driving a tractor) if they are told about the positives. They can access Facebook or they can work mornings and afternoon and evenings free or some days they will be working 14 hours but they can work in a season and make as much money as they might make in a year at another job.

2. Look at the communities and what they offer younger generations and families. Recently in Entrepreneur magazine (October 2011) there was an article about two Generation X agriculture employees who found that there was nothing for them to do outside of work in their small town, nor were their family activities that appealed to today's tech savvy kids. They set out to create weekly Wii and X Box championship gatherings and they set up a Web Cafe for brainstorming and sharing tech resources. An opportunity for an agriculture company is to find ways to add value and enhance the communities where they employ workers.

3. Look for industries with similar values when recruiting- with many military workers returning home they are an ideal talent resource. Those who have worked in the military are typically disciplined, willing to work hard and are used to being away from family for periods of time.

4. An obvious yet underused recruitment tool is referral incentives. Your existing talent pool is the perfect place to solicit for more workers that are exactly like them. Encourage your employees to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In to reach out to their circles of influence to engage and invite their peers to join the agriculture industry.

5. Use media more vigorously- You Tube is the 2nd highest search engine on the Internet- research shows that we are all drawn to video as a communication tool more than any other medium. Create modern, edgy and values focused video to tell your agriculture company story and to engage and invite talent to apply for jobs in your company. Video tape your happy workers of all ages and have them tell their story as to why they love the agriculture industry. Every one of your websites should have engaging video on your home page and on your recruitment pages.

6. Once you have recruited you need to make sure you retain them. Most generation Y's will only stick around with any employer for a maximum of three years. Rather than see this as disloyal- see it as an opportunity to keep them for as long as you can. Positive on boarding strategies are crucial to increase retention as are recognition, rewards and good leadership. If companies are not focused on retention strategies then they will find themselves constantly recruiting because of high turnover.

What to Look for When Searching for a Pick-Up Hitch

When choosing a pick-up hitch, quality and function is important to determine before purchasing. With pick up hitches, there are several different versions available to customers including hydraulic, mechanical, telehandler and vertical. This article goes over in brief the different pick-up hitch options.

Hydraulic Pick Up Hitch and Mechanical
Hydraulic pick up hitches are designed for maximum efficiency and complete ease of use. Usually the best are hydraulically operated Push Back Hitches so that you can operate the hitch without leaving the cab of the tractor. This kind of hitch allows you absolute visibility of the hook and trailer ring from your seated position and as a result, the attachment and detachment of the trailer is simple and fast. Much of the same should apply for the mechanical version.

Some specifications you should look out for
• Does it eliminate the need for manual lifting entirely
• What is the maximum ground clearance rate and how much clearance do you need
• Can the tow hook lower below ground level to hitch to equipment that has sunk into the soil
• What are the safety features
• What is the static load capacity (for better quality versions, the capacity can increase the capacity by up to 300%)
• Does it fit on all tractors models
• What kind of material is it made from? It should be high strength and wear resistant

Telehandler Pick Up Hitch
The Telehandler pick up hitch is literally one designed for the specific purposes of a Telehandler. Much of the general requirements are the same as for the hydraulic or the mechanical versions. Whereas the pallet forks are the most common form of attachment, the pick up hitch can be a very useful one to have on site as well. One point of note however is to make sure the hitch is suitable for different wheel sizes and also that it can fit various different models of the Telehandler.

Vertical Pick-Up Hitch
Again, for this type of hitch, you should never have to leave the cabin. Some additional points:
• The unit is designed for the forestry industry where 100% ground clearance is necessary so the hitch must be above the lowest point on the back of the tractor
• Have a look at the latching and locking system, it should be easy to use and to maintain
• The strength of the material of the hitch must be very strong

Supplier requirements
When you're trying to locate the right supplier in the uk for your pick up hitch, there are a number of fundamental requirements in choosing the right one. Make sure to thoroughly investigate the supplier before you consider purchasing or renting from them. Sometimes, it might be worth paying that little bit extra for the peace of mind of a higher quality service.

Here's a check list of things to go through when approaching a potential supplier
• What kind of support service is available to you should there be a malfunction or if you have an operational question
• Does the supplier have a range of spare parts available for the product you'd like to purchase
• What's the suppliers history like and how strong is the client base
• (optional extra) do they provide an engineering design service for custom built solutions