This past April, I had the pleasure of attending the “Advancing Women Conference: Life Skills for Leadership, Women in Ag Conference” in Calgary, Alberta. Almost 600 delegates attended from all over Canada and the US and included producers, ranchers, small business owners, corporate agribusiness representatives and association representatives among many others! To say I left this event inspired is an understatement! With a speaker line-up that included the very talented and engaging Debbie Travis and Alanna Koch, the Deputy Minister, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, delegates were given the opportunity to hear from female leaders both within agriculture and from other industries.


There were some common themes and messages that came from many of the speakers which resonated specifically with me. As a woman working in the agriculture industry that comes from a different background, I was very intrigued to hear the messages and stories of the various career paths of these very powerful and diverse women. I think the biggest message from all the speakers was “authenticity”. All speakers stated that they have seen women try to be something they are not in order to fit in or be successful. The best way to be successful is to be a success as yourself. Woman bring a different perspective and skill-set to many work scenarios and the key to success is embracing and utilizing these assets!


Some very interesting points were brought up by Alanna Koch, who I found particularly inspiring. Her talk was focused on how to be an effective leader/manager:

Published on May 29th, 2015

 Read More

Memorial Day has come and gone for another year, yet remembering and honoring those who have served in our country’s armed forces should not be a single day event.  Traditionally, this U.S. holiday has been a day to remember those who have died while serving the country, however it also provides the perfect reminder to honor service members and veterans still here.


One way we can do this is to help military men and women transfer back into their civilian life after deployments and/or service.  As agricultural employers we have a great solution to assist — job opportunities!


Our preconceived notions often stereotype service member experience into things such as mechanical or other skilled trade expertise.  While many do have these critical areas of expertise, this talent pipeline brings so much more to the table.  Did you know, the military has over 7,000 job positions across more than 100+ functional areas and 81% of these jobs have a direct civilian equivalent?1


There are also many transferrable skills gained by serving in the military that service members often struggle to articulate.  Here are just a few skills that we as agricultural employers want within our organizations that many veterans possess thanks to their service1:

Published on May 26th, 2015

 Read More

What are other agribusinesses doing to recruit and retain talent?  What about salary increases in the industry?  More than 100 agribusiness companies participated in the 2014-2015 Agribusiness HR Review to answer these questions and provide other valuable market knowledge, data and trends.


The survey found that most agribusinesses continue to find employee referrals and networks the most effective means of attracting prospective applicants to their organization.  Referrals were followed by the use of industry specific job boards (i.e. ) and college and university recruitment.  The use of social networks or social media to support recruitment efforts nearly doubled from just last year in the U.S.  More than 50% of agribusinesses in North America are now using social media and social networks for recruitment.  The number could easily be as high as 75% in the coming year, based on the projection of those planning to begin using these outlets.


The majority of companies shared they were able to compete against other employers for talent by primarily offering better benefits.  Companies also indicated they are paying close attention to compensation.  More than half of the survey participants had performed a compensation market study within the last two years; three out of four of those had completed the review within the past twelve months.  Employees within agriculture typically saw salary increases between 2% to 3% in the last year.  In addition, more than 95% of North American ag companies said some or all staff are likely to see increases in the coming year.  Ag employers will need to continue to engage and motivate employees through a variety of ways including compensation, benefits, training and development, promotion, flexibility and beyond to retain high performers.


In an encouraging note, nearly 70% of U.S. ag companies and over 50% of Canadian ag companies expect their workforce to increase in size within the next two years according to the HR Review.


Want to know more about what other ag companies are doing to engage, retain and recruit?  Find out about performance rewards, training programs, salary reviews, retirement trends and more in the full Agribusiness HR Review report available to download free:


2014-2015 U.S. Agribusiness HR Review

2014-2015 Canadian Agribusiness HR Review

Published on May 22nd, 2015

 Read More

Many HR professionals, especially those with 200 or less employees, struggle to convince their management and/or ownership the value of investing and participating in compensation surveys. Why? The answer is typically is “it’s too expensive…or, not worth it”. However, below are a few questions that should be posed to management and/or ownership:

  • Would you guess at the sales revenue from your top 20 clients?
  • Do you want to pay $40,000 more than needed for your new VP of Research?
  • Are you aware of the compensation range variances between 1 region of the country vs another for the same position?


Here are 5 reasons ALL employers should participate in credible Compensation Surveys:

  1. Aiding in paying employees competitively: According to research by Fredrick Herzberg (American psychologist who became one of the most influential names in business management and is most famous for introducing job enrichment and the Motivator-Hygiene theory) compensation can be more of a de-motivator than motivator. In other words, if staff know or feel they are underpaid, morale and productivity will suffer. Reputable compensation surveys can bring much needed objectivity to decisions regarding pay.
  2. Market conditions will change: All industry sectors have ups and downs. During a time when a particular sector is thriving, employers should have current knowledge of going pay rates for critical roles.
  3. Be a “good steward” in the HR Community: Participating in a 3rd party compensation survey encourages other “like” employers to do the same. This collaboration results in a much more accurate picture for everyone involved.
  4. Build confidence and loyalty among staff: Many employers use compensation survey data to demonstrate that annual homework/research has been done and shares that information one-on-0ne with staff during annual reviews.
  5. On average, total costs of workforce equates to nearly 70% of operating costs: Ask yourself and other members of management and ownership this question – “can you really afford to guess at your largest expense item – what and how to pay your employees?”


Proven industry specific compensation/salary surveys can be an excellent tool if incorporated into the annual business planning process. For over 8 years, has provided its Compensation Benchmark Review (CBR) to the agriculture industry. The CBR has grown to include over 200 industry roles with 125+ participating employers. To learn more about’s CBR, click here.

Published on May 20th, 2015

 Read More

























The decision to issue raises can be a grueling process for company leaders and owners. This is the first in a series of compensation related posts. I’d like to share a few important considerations based on my experience around making decisions around giving raises. Given David Letterman is retiring; I thought I would share in true “Letterman” style:

Published on May 18th, 2015

 Read More

A resume is supposed to sell a job candidate to the employer, but how do you get top talent to want to apply to your position? When thinking of job descriptions think of it as selling a product. You are trying to sell your company culture, position, and benefits to multiple qualified individuals, and more importantly trying to get them to think your company is better than others OR their current company. Think about when you attend a career fair. Those questions asked by job seekers are the questions you should be answering in your job descriptions! Many people use their internal job descriptions for online job postings, but with some minor tweaks your jobs will stand out above the rest!


Top 10 best practices of Online Job Descriptions 

  1. Including Benefits – insurance, 401k, vacation days, tuition reimbursement, clothing allowance, etc. These are all benefits that help sell your position/company. You don’t have to give specifics away but showing that they are there is a plus!
  2. Clear Understanding of Travel – 10%, 25%, 75%…estimate before you spend time and money interviewing someone who isn’t interested or wants more or less.
  3. Company Culture – Do you have an annual field day with your employees and their families? What company morals do you feel is important? You should include 3-5 sentences on what makes your company unique.
  4. Awards – Was your company voted best place to work, dog-friendly, fastest growing, featured in articles? Putting your top 3-5 awards will show that your company strives to be the best.
  5. What does your company do? – You should include 2-3 sentences on the type of business your company does, products/services you offer. Not everyone will recognize your company brand or have time to Google you. Help them understand to make a quick decision while reading your description.
  6. Videos – Day in the life or company commercials are perfect on Online Job Descriptions. It allows a job seeker to see first hand the work environment.
  7. Job Requirements – Make sure you include bullets clearly explaining what the position will be doing. Giving the job seeker a clear understanding of the job helps them shape their resume and cover letter and will make it easier for the hiring manager to sort through resumes.
  8. Minimum Qualifications – 3+ years, B.A. in agriculture, etc. are all ways to give job seekers a clear understanding of who you are looking for.
  9. Promoting your Employer Brand – How do you promote your employer brand? Does your company have a marketing campaign for it? Check out Southern States job postings for a perfect example of promoting your employer brand.
  10. Salary – Nobody wants to be the first to throw out a number but putting a range or minimum salary could increase your applicant traffic. Need data to see what the competitive salary is for certain positions, contact’s Compensation Benchmarking Review Team to benchmark your roles or current openings,


Hopefully these tips will help you in your recruitment strategies and make your online job descriptions the voice of your company culture and brand.  Remember, anything that makes your employer brand stand out should always be included! Don’t forget to check out our Online Job Description Checklist!

Published on May 15th, 2015

 Read More






















Welcome to the employer blog, Talent Harvest.  As the leading online job board for the agriculture, food and biotechnology industries, we hope to use this blog to provide you with information and resources that help you harvest top ag talent for careers within your organization.


In 2014, the site hosted more than 64,700 career opportunities in North America.  In addition to our job board, offers a wide array of products and services for employers in the ag industry to help make the recruiting process simple and the recruiter more educated.  The experienced staff at, as well as our guest bloggers, plan to use this blog to share some of that knowledge with our readers and help you identify the resources available on  Visit the Products and Resources tabs above to preview some of the products and services we offer.  If you’re looking to hire top talent right away, click our Post a Job quick link to post your job today!


Published on May 5th, 2015

 Read More