As we continue to face a labor shortage across the country, it’s arguably more crucial than ever before for farms to invest in their employees. An easy way to help retain the employees your farm currently has is to ensure that in addition to being respected and valued, they are properly trained in how to do their everyday tasks with opportunities to continuously learn and improve.
MMPA offers Dairy Care Academy, a free animal care training program for farm owners and employees. Designed to help farms meet the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program training requirements, it also educates employees and improves on-farm performance.
Throughout the month of February, MMPA members can send employees or family members to in-person Dairy Care Academy trainings in Lansing, Michigan on February 15 and in Clare, Michigan on February 23. The interactive, day-long training is broken into three sessions: milking practices, dairy stockmanship and calf care.
During the event, participants will watch demonstrations, participate in hands-on activities and receive a free lunch. Participants in attendance go back to the farm with a printed certificate of completion and each member farm will receive a list of their employees who attended to meet FARM program training documentation needs.
For those who are unable to join the in-person sessions, members and employees can enroll in a virtual Dairy Care Academy training scheduled for February 24. This training opportunity is a virtual replication of traditional Dairy Care Academy programming that will include live training covering the traditional topics of milking practices, dairy stockmanship and calf care.
Just like during an in-person training, participants can ask questions, interact with speakers and will receive a certificate of completion. Each member farm will also receive a list of their employees who attended to meet FARM program training documentation needs.
Online, On-Demand Training
MMPA members also continue to have access to an on-demand, FARM program compliant online training platform that covers the traditional Dairy Care Academy topics of milking practices, calf management and dairy stockmanship along with the latest FARM program required training areas of euthanasia, non-ambulatory animal management and fitness to transport.
The six different topics are complete courses with videos and resources compiled by the MMPA Dairy Care Academy team from reputable sources, making it easy for members and farm employees to complete the course relevant to their role on the farm, take a quiz covering what they have learned and receive a printable certificate if they score 80 percent or better on the quiz.
This training resource is available year-round for unlimited use whenever a new employee is hired, retraining is necessary or simply to brush up on your skills. To access the online platform, visit the Member Portal and select the Dairy Care Academy link on the homepage or ask your member representative for details.
Successful dairy operations rely on quality employee training to keep all animal caretakers on task and performing best practices. Dairy Care Academy teaches farm employees how to provide excellent care to animals, preventing cutting corners and improving adherence to best practices. Farms that benefit the most from training are those that commit to incorporating best procedures taught to employees on their farm. Setting expectations and evaluating adherence to procedures long-term are surefire ways to build a successful farm team.
This article was originally published in the January/February 2022 issue of the Milk Messenger. Subscribe »