Then, that individual, or in more cases, that group (such as the outside group or the milking group) presents the information to Meghan and Willard with their recommendation.

Their recommendation recognizes the cost of the equipment and how it compares to other options and they make their case for the one they recommend. Employees help create partial budgets and net present value worksheets as part of the purchase process and use these tools to best evaluate multiple options.

One of the key components of Table Rock’s relationship with their employees is that the owners also provide regular information on farm performance back to the employees.

Each month, employees get a sheet showing the current month’s expenses in various budget areas with a year-to-date total and a comparison to the previous year. In this way, employees can track how the decisions being made are impacting farm expenses. In addition, each month, results related to farm goals are posted in farm break rooms.

Farm financials are shared with all employees each year at the farm’s annual off-site meeting. After 10 years of annual meetings, Meghan says this is one of the strongest things they have done for the success of the farm.

Farm financials are shared, goals are discussed, lunch is provided and invited speakers provide some education. Extension experts act as moderators. All employees are part of the team that moves forward for greater success.

Richard Sanford, the outside manager, says the fact that Table Rock owners share the financial information shows the trust they have in the employees and that makes him feel good. Many of the 28 employees have been with the farm for a dozen or more years. Richard says that is “because we have a say.”

Table Rock Farm is successful at building the loyalty of their employees by involving them and providing them the information they need in order to make good decisions for the farm. But then, they believe it just makes good sense to do that.

Build greater loyalty among your employees and as a result, your operation will achieve new levels you may not have thought possible before.

Another good source of information on getting the most from farm labor is found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/management/employee-exit-interviews-can-strengthen-farm-operation.

And a good story on how one apple grower handles his labor force in a tough market can be found at http://southeastfarmpress.com/orchard-crops/north-carolina-apple-grower-beating-labor-odds.