End of Season – Goodbye till Spring?

Authored by Polly Shyka

Small Bites are short, informational articles with practical ideas about stress reduction, improved communication, and farm and family well-being. They are written by coaches from UMaine Extension’s Farm Coaching team. Farm Coaches are available at no cost to work remotely with farmers and farm teams.

woman wearing tshirt and blaze orange fleece vestIt’s that time of year! Blaze orange clothing becomes the norm. Frosty mornings, big root harvests for vegetable farmers and lots and lots of fall cleanup. If you have employees working with you, this also may be a time of saying “goodbye ‘til spring” to many of your staff members.

Have you ever done an end of season meeting with each employee? Do you have an end of season party? Give out a bonus in cash? Saying goodbye and thank you to an individual or whole farm crew can tie up a great or a rough season with just a bit of levity, especially if you want to retain crew members for next year.

On our farm, there is a “last day” when we do a final big project together. We often serve lunch to the farm crew that day. One fun-loving employee made a “Best of 2018” survey a few years ago where he collected “Best crop, Cutest Critter, Biggest Villain, Moment I wish I could Forget” and etc. from the crew and then read them aloud to capture a bunch of laughs and memories from folks.

With an eye toward next spring, you may be thinking about which employees might take on more responsibility and which might not get offered a position. Be honest and forthright now with your thoughts so that your employees will have the benefit of your thinking for the long winter ahead.

If it would be helpful to think about a plan for employees for next spring and you’d like someone to bounce ideas off, reach out to the farm coaches.