A new educational program is designed to help Minnesota farmers gain better understanding of workforce management issues.

"Employee Management Skills for Today: Planning for Success" will be offered twice in April.

  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 15, Brown County Office Building, 300 Second Ave. SW., Sleepy Eye.
  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 16, Cornerstone Restaurant, 223 Kraft Drive, Melrose.

The workshops, including lunch, are free but space is limited. To register, contact Bobbi Ruesch at 507-337-2801 or bmruesch@umn.edu.

The course will cover a variety of topics including legal issues and taxes, hiring processes and compensation. Great diversity exists within the workforce; part of the program will focus on cultural understanding and effective communication.

More than ever, Minnesota farmers rely on employees, from both within and outside their families, to help carry out operations.

A 2010 survey, for instance, found that non-family labor was employed at 68 percent of Minnesota dairy farms with more than 150 cows. Another 13 percent of the operations had family on their payroll.

These workshops are sponsored by AgStar Financial, with promotional assistance from the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, the Southwest MN Dairy Profit Group and the Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.