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I need labor to run my farm efficiently, but I have no previous management experience and I am intimidated by the legal and tax implications of having employees. Where do I go for help?

Employees bring risks and responsibilities to a farm operation. However, effective management skills make labor a resource instead of an additional problem. With some training and assistance, you can navigate through the associated legal issues.

Learn to become a more effective manager.

Strategies:

  • Take a course in employee management.
  • Read books or online resources on farm management.

Resources:

  • Ag Help Wanted: Guidelines for Managing Agricultural Labor. This publication is an excellent manual for farm employers. Find it online at http://www.aghelpwanted.org/ or order it in hard copy from the same website.
  • Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at (413) 545-6301 or http://msbdc.som.umass.edu/ to find out if there are courses for employers near you. Note that these classes will not focus specifically on agriculture; you can supplement them with Ag Help Wanted: Guidelines for Managing Agricultural Labor or other resources.
  • The Risk Management Education Library features many resources on labor management. http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/.

Educate yourself about the legal issues faced by farm employers.

Strategies:

  • Research your legal responsibilities as a farm employer by taking a course or using the resources listed below.
  • Make sure your farm is in compliance with relevant regulations.

Resources:

  • Summary of Federal Laws and Regulations Affecting Agricultural Employers. This is a guide to legal farm labor issues and includes information on exemptions for smaller operations. Find it online at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ah719.
  • Gemplers' Labor Law Compliance: A Working Guide for Ag/Hort Employers summarizes legal issues for farm employers. http://www.gemplers.com/.
  • The Risk Management Education Library features many resources about labor issues for farm employers. http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/.

  • Back to Questions.