Iowa Farm/AgBusiness Employers Have Resource, Training on Employment Legal Issues

Name and Position/Title:     
Melissa R. O’Rourke, Farm &Agribusiness Management Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted:         

POW Title and Number:      
120 Farm and Business Management
126 Farm Legal and Business Planning

Iowa Farm/AgBusiness Employers Have Resource, Training on Employment Legal Issues

Issue (Who cares and Why):
The steps necessary to appropriately identify human resource needs, and properly recruit, interview, select, hire and retain employees can present even the most sophisticated professionals with a labyrinth of rules, regulations, forms and procedures.  For small-to-medium agricultural employers inexperienced in human resources, the process can be a virtual minefield of legal hazards.  Agricultural employers in Iowa lacked any single source to assist them in navigating this maze.  Extension professionals were often asked employment-related questions by producers, and lacked the background or resources for referral.

What Did You Do? (Outputs – these may include educational meetings, demonstrations or research, media, facilitating, partnering)  
Research was conducted on state and federal employment requirements and resources.  Additional resources for agricultural employers were gathered from research-based institutions.  After review, this information was compiled into the Checklist for Iowa Agricultural Employers and published on the ISU Extension AgDecision Maker website in February 2011.  Additionally, the Checklist for Iowa Agricultural Employers was used as an underlying outline for presentations on employment legal issues presented at a series of Extension-sponsored “Employee Management Workshop” trainings conducted in January through March 2011 at five sites (Amana, Calmar, Iowa Falls, Sheldon and Estherville) throughout Iowa.

Results (Outcomes – was there a increase in knowledge, new skills learned, new decisions made, new practices implemented, increased profitability, new standards, enhanced quality of life) 
As a result of these efforts, agricultural employers have increased knowledge and resources to assist with employment-related decisions.  At this writing, the Checklist for Iowa Agricultural Employers has been published for less than one month, but it is expected that the resource will be distributed and utilized by farm and agribusiness employers.  Additionally, the training workshops are ongoing and results remain to be compiled.  Approximately 100 agricultural employers attended the workshops and gained knowledge regarding employment legal procedures.  Preliminary results indicate that a significant number of attendees increased their level of understanding or knowledge of employment legal issues as a result of having attended the trainings. 

Page last updated: June 22, 2011
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