Spotlight on business relationships

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Narrikup dairy and beef farmer Bonnie Ravenhill.
Camera IconNarrikup dairy and beef farmer Bonnie Ravenhill. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Retaining the workforce during a challenging time of high feed costs will be highlighted at the Better Beef 2019 two-day forum beginning today at Kylagh Feedlot, in Tammin.

Narrikup milk and beef producer Bonnie Ravenhill, who employs 12 staff at her family’s 60-stand rotary dairy, will speak about strategies to achieve an optimum workforce.

WA Lot Feeders’ Association, which co-ordinates Better Beef, was keen to tell the Ravenhill Dairy story to the fore, based on its staff retention success.

Mrs Ravenhill, who runs the business with her fourth-generation dairyman husband, Ken, said investing in staff was just as important as technology advances in delivering efficiencies in production.

The couple run 1500 Holstein cows and grow-out 500 bought-in Angus calves on one of WA’s largest dairies which maintains split shifts for its mostly full time staff.

“Staff respond favourably to when we assign them to an area that represents their strength and interest,” she said. “We usually don’t have an issue finding suitable people and we always plan to have one trainee on the staff team.”

Mrs Ravenhill said there were websites that assisted dairy and beef producers with potential workforce candidates. “We utilise levy-paid websites in this way and also look for trainees at WA’s agricultural colleges,” she said.

“Formal qualifications are not completely necessary but it is important that candidates understand the rules and regulations of an agricultural employment contract.”

For more Better Beef 2019 reports, pick up a copy of next week’s Countryman.

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