Northwest Iowa Farm Labor Conference set for April 17
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Sit down with any Northwest Iowa livestock producer - dairy, swine, beef or poultry - and the topic of labor is sure to surface in the conversation.
According to Northwest Iowa Extension Dairy Specialist Fred Hall, everybody has the solution for how agriculture can find and keep a dependable labor force, but each has a perspective for the solution that often doesn’t recognize or jive with the issues identified by employees or employers.
To help identify those issues, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred M. Hall and Human Sciences Specialist in Family Life Lori Hayungs have worked with retired ISU Sociologist Dr. Jan Flora to develop a survey for employees and a survey for employers. Hall and Hayungs are asking farm employees and employers to identify the issues that they believe are most important to bringing employees and employers together for mutually beneficial arrangements and strong communities.
“These surveys should tie together the needs of each - employers and employees - and build a framework for programs that will help stabilize the workforce and build community,” Hall said. “Surveys have been circulating the area with help from local churches and farm groups.”
The distribution and completion of these surveys is all leading up to the Northwest Iowa Farm Labor Conference on Tuesday, April 17 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office in Orange City.
The employer track registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. with the program starting at 9:15. Speakers will discuss what community means to immigrants, consistent management practices for people, animal welfare, and creating community for employees in Sioux County.
In addition, all attendees will be asked to complete the employer survey during the noon lunch. Employers who are not able to attend, but would still like to share their opinion may also complete the online form which can be accessed at https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/nwiadairyoutlook/. Once completed, email the survey to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The employee track will be presented in Spanish and will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on April 17. The evening will start with a light dinner, and the program will start at 6:15 p.m. The discussion will focus on how immigrants understand community, and how employers can build consistent management practices for people that protect both employees and supports animal welfare.
All employees will be asked to complete a survey. Proctors will be available to assist, if needed.
Neither the employee or employer program has a registration fee, but pre-registration is required to ensure that enough meals are provided.
Pre-registration can be made by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office at 712-737-4230 or emailing email@example.com. Questions and/or more information can also be requested by calling or emailing Hall.