Farm Security Tips: Hiring
By: Dairy MAX
Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While Benjamin Franklin was probably not thinking of animal right activists trying to get jobs on dairy farms when he first coined this now popular phrase, his words are good advice for today’s dairy farmers who live in an era of extreme activism, undercover videos and social media.
Clearly, one of the best ways to avoid animal rights activists is to not give them access to your farm. Part of Dairy MAX’s crisis preparedness efforts involves helping dairy farmers and industry partners identify potential threats to individual farms or operations, or to the industry. This includes sharing best practices and farm security tips, and an important category in a farm’s crisis plan is to focus on your hiring practices.
Increasingly, extreme animal rights activists are trying to gain access to farms for “undercover” work. The broader goal of these activists is to end ALL animal agriculture by any means necessary. With consumers further and further removed from farming and appropriate animal care practices, the content captured by extreme activists is skewed and then used to mislead and misinform consumers, or heavily edited with the same end goal in mind.
Here are some tips for increasing farm security by focusing on hiring practices:
- Review your current hiring practices for potential upgrades.
- Thoroughly vet all new hires using a written application, employment checklist and interview questions.
- Carefully check references by calling past employer’s main number – not the one listed on the application.
- Train your current and new employees on proper animal care practices.
- Hold all workers accountable for their actions by requiring all employees to sign an animal care code of conduct. Publicly post the code of conduct in high-traffic areas.
After the right workers are hired, don’t forget to be proactive with farm employees. Make it clear that you are watching and expecting proper animal care practices. Consider holding monthly employee meetings to discuss animal care best practices. Regularly walk the farm or the facility and watch how animals are handled. And, make sure employees know about the See it! Stop It! program and know that they can confidently report any concerns.
If anything in the application or interview process raises a red flag, trust your gut instinct and either do not hire that applicant, or dig deeper into those concerns.
Contact Dairy MAX for more information on how to create a unique crisis plan for your farm, a suggested employment checklist, interview questions or tips on how to spot an activist.
Related story: Farm security tips: On-farm visitors