Thursday, November 26, 2015

10 low cost things you can do TODAY to show your employees your appreciation

I have recently been thinking a lot about what motivates people to do their job and if extrinsic motivation equates to higher job performance. While I am skeptical of if rewards lead to lasting achievement, I can tell you most people appreciate some type of recognition from time-to-time. With lower milk and beef prices this year, some of you may be wondering if you can provide your employees with any type of acknowledgement. I am here to tell you - YES! In fact, I would argue you should try to do some of these small things all year long, not just during this time of traditional holiday giving and thankfulness. Begin to foster a climate of gratitude, and see how great it makes everyone feel, including you.

10 low cost things you can do TODAY to show your employees your appreciation

1. Say Thank You. It seems so obvious, but when was the last time you said thank you for a job well done and provided a few sincere reasons?

2. Food. Depending on the size of your group, take them to lunch or bring doughnuts. It could be as simple as arranging a pot-luck with everyone providing a great dish for a chance to get together with their co-workers.

3. Flexibility. Think about what is going on in their life. Perhaps allowing them to come in a little late to go to a doctor’s appointment or duck-out early to catch their kid’s first pitch is all they have been wishing for.

4. Public Shout-Out. Look for an opportunity to give public praise. Maybe you have a newsletter, or farm/ranch social media account that could be tapped for this purpose. It could be as easy as inserting the compliment into a group conversation.

5. Impromptu Meeting. Schedule a meeting to do nothing but provide praise to each individual employee.

6. Swag. Give whatever your budget allows. Jackets, shirts, hats, water bottles, pens and other farm/ranch logoed items allow your employees to wear/use your company name with pride.

7. Handwritten Note. There is nothing like an old-fashioned note. Is it your employee’s birthday? Did they recently go through a difficult time? Write them a sincere note to show you are thinking about them and care.

8. Caught Doing Great Wall. Create an area or system that encourages employees to recognize their co-workers for going above and beyond.

9. Encourage Giving Back. Organize a food drive for your local pantry. Take an afternoon and help out at the 4-H small animal vaccinations clinic. It doesn’t matter what group you are helping, your community benefits and everyone feels great for the assistance they were able to provide.
2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

10. Give them an extra hand. I know your plate is full, but can you give an hour somewhere to help out on a particularly difficult project or task? Your employee will appreciate the effort you provided. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let your milk test do more with KetoMonitor

An AgSource DHI milk test can tell you many things about a cow.  In addition to how much milk, fat and protein she is producing, you can also:
  • Measure how healthy her udder is
  • Identify which pathogen is the culprit of any udder illness
  • Confirm whether or not she is pregnant
  • Determine if she has Leukosis or Johne's Disease
  • and you can now detect ketosis in your fresh cows! 
Ketosis, a common early-lactation disease in dairy cattle, is characterized by reduced feed intake, lethargy and abnormal licking and chewing. Until now ketosis was typically diagnosed using a blood test. 

Enter the AgSource KetoMonitor™, which has been received with great enthusiasm for several reasons: It’s easy, it’s accurate and it saves a lot of money.

The beauty of KetoMonitor is two-fold. It helps to monitor a very costly disease (Ketosis is estimated to cost $289/cow/case) at the herd level. Without regular blood sampling, 85-90% of subclinical cases of ketosis go undetected. Utilizing test-day milk sample information, KetoMonitor can help dairy producers measure how big the problem is in the herd.  This information is tracked over a period of 12 months, so the impacts of seasons and management changes (like feed and housing) can be evaluated.

The report not only helps manage the herd. It helps manage sick cows. The back side of the report lists all of the cows tested that day suspected to have Ketosis and keeps track of cows due to freshen within the next 90 days that had ketosis in a prior lactation. This is important because the likelihood of them developing ketosis in subsequent lactations is higher. Listing these cows allows them to be more closely monitored as they approach their due date.

To date 204 herds and 114,469 cows are enrolled on KetoMonitor. If you’d like to join them, contact your local DHI manager or call AgSource Customer Service at 800-236-4995. Learn more at Read how Larson Acres, in Evansville, Wisconsin, utilizes KetoMonitor in their herd.