HR for the Ag Industry | Leap Solutions Group Inc.

In this issue of our newsletter:

  • Ag HR Challenges

  • Next Steps



Let’s face it, doing business in California is becoming more and more complicated by the day. Not only do the restrictive laws impact normal businesses, but they are exponentially more difficult on our farmer friends. Whether you are in dairy or wine grapes, these restrictions can be difficult to navigate. On top of the changing employment laws, agriculture gets a second whammy with environmental hoops and restrictions thrust upon them.

Ag must also deal with fire access plans, disaster planning and more. They are facing pressure from unions who are, in some cases, spreading fake news about how Ag employees are treated and paid unfairly.



The Ag industry also has unique opportunities with transitional labor forces such as H2A and farm labor contractors that bring people into our community to perform farming duties. The government contracts for H2A are rising at such a rate that it is now questioned whether the effort to secure this important labor force is worth it. These costs alone have risen over 50% for wages in the past 5 years.

All industries, not just Agriculture, have an emerging issue to address with the increase in lawsuits. Lawsuits are becoming the norm in many companies. While many of these lawsuits are frivolous in nature, legal firms are threatening to turn the claims into class action lawsuits. The cost of defending even a small frivolous suit can be daunting and costly to small businesses, and with the threat of a class action, the exposure becomes more complicated and expensive. The winners are often the legal firms, not the person or persons who bring the lawsuit to the employer.



What can companies do to help head off some of these regulatory, compliance, and legal costs?

First, companies can strengthen their human resource practices. While smaller agriculture, family-focused businesses may resist the idea of becoming “corporate” with too many rules and regulations, a proactive strategy is necessary to prepare for the emerging and longer-term challenges.



Second, watch closely for wage and hour violations including meal period, breaks, and overtime pay. These violations when addressed quickly and thoroughly, not only support your employees, but reduce exposure for legal actions that too many legal advisors see as low hanging fruit.  Proactive HR practices eliminate exposures and send a strong message to employees and potential employees that the company values their contributions.

Third, if you have someone designated to manage HR, but they are limited in HR skills or experience, consider further education and development for them to proactively manage the HR function.

Finally, if you do not have an in-house HR leader, consider hiring a qualified professional, or if you prefer, outsource the function. Leap Solutions is always ready to address your HR needs and issues.



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Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, executive search and recruitment, and human resources professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about: helping you feel passionate about what you do. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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