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Unpacking the Farm Labor Puzzle

One of the biggest challenges in reaching your farm goals is likely related to employees—finding, training, and retaining them. Without employees your growth is limited. Managing the transition from farmer to boss requires skill, practice and patience, plus a basic working understanding of federal employment law as it relates to agricultural businesses.

This webinar is the second of a two-part series aimed at helping women farmers and ranchers select the right employees and their teams off to a great start this growing season.

University of Vermont Extension's Mary Peabody is the leader of a multi-state research team that spent the last year visiting with small and medium-sized diversified vegetable farm operators to learn what labor practices help increase the odds of having a good farm employee experience. In this 30-minute webinar, Peabody will take a look at the tips and strategies these farmers shared as their best practices in recruiting, training, and retaining farm employees. 

The first webinar in the series, “Labor Law & Your Farm,” focuses on on legal issues small- and medium-sized diversified farms commonly encounter related to hiring and paying workers. Attorney and Farm Commons Executive Director Rachel Armstrong discusses on the following topics:

  • Minimum wage- When do you owe it and can you pay it with food and lodging?
  • Workers' compensation- Insurance that protects the farm from liability as well as employees from the costs of injury
  • Volunteers- Is there risk and how do you manage it?
  • Discrimination in hiring- Make sure you find the best team by following non-discrimination laws.
These webinars are co-presented by the Women in Agriculture Learning Network and the University of Vermont Extension Women's Agricultural Network.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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