In South Africa, most farms are one-man shows. This means you are responsible for everything, not only the growing of things! One area that is often not given the attention it deserves is the workforce.
Workers play a crucial role in any farmer’s success, or failure, for that matter. Managing people also doesn’t always come naturally to everyone, so it’s often an aspect that needs to be worked on, and something most people need some help with.
That is especially true when it comes to technical issues like the lawful execution of documentation and implementation of labour practices and so on. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could get yourself into all sorts of legal trouble with the department of labour!
But there is also a softer side to managing workers and earning their respect. One trick is to be able to do all the jobs on the farm that you expect your workers to do.
This will not only earn you the respect of your workers but will also help maintain working standards. But maybe more importantly, it will help your develop empathy for your workers.
If you are farming in the Karoo, for instance, you will quickly learn that expecting your workers to manage 1 000 ewes a day in 40 degrees Celsius heat is not a good idea!