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Farmer beware, some things to consider when hiring farm workers

Published Sep. 27, 2010 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Source: Farm and Dairy | By Chris Kick | Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio — Hiring new employees can be a tedious process, no matter what kind of business you operate. You want people who will work hard, do the job right, be honest and represent your operation in a good way.

For livestock farmers, hiring has become increasingly complicated as they must consider whether an applicant is actually an undercover animal rights activist, destined to put them out of business.

All are vulnerable

Hiring an activist can spell disaster for your farm, as two Ohio operations found out this year. And it can happen at any farm, in any county.

“The activist tactic of obtaining illicit employment at a farm or processing plant in order to obtain video intended to malign the reputation of farmers and ranchers is becoming increasingly common,” reports Animal Agriculture Alliance — an advocacy group comprised of farmers and farm businesses.

“While animal abuse in any shape or form is never condoned by the agriculture industry, activists use highly edited images of violence and neglect to prey on the emotions of the public.”

Fighting back

But farmers have tools to help them avoid hiring someone who is opposed to what they do.

Organizations like Animal Agriculture Alliance, and Ohio Livestock Coalition, have compiled extensive checkpoints and measures all farmers should consider before, during and after their interview with an applicant. No list will fool-proof a farm, but each point could help.

Some of the advice is common sense — check all references, pay attention to how the employee looks and acts.

Enforcing care

One of the most important steps is to require new employees to sign a strict animal care agreement, said Sarah Hubbart, communications coordinator for Animal Ag Alliance.

Not only does this help ensure care for the animals, it also ensures a timeline for employees to report any issues...

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