Guidelines for Employing Youth on Your Farm

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

Students will be wrapping up their school year in a few short weeks and you may have a young person contact you about a summer job. Young people often have an interest to work on a farm and many are excellent employees. However, as an employer, there are rules and regulations you must understand before hiring minors to do work on your farm.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has established certain provisions to protect the safety of minors. In 1967, the U.S. Secretary of Labor determined certain agricultural jobs as hazardous to youth less than 16 years of age. There are two exemptions to these regulations:

1-The list of hazardous agricultural occupations does not apply to youth under 16 years of age working on a farm owned by their parents or guardians; and

2- The list of hazardous agricultural occupations does not apply to youth under 16 years of age who have completed an approved Tractor and Machinery Certification course. Such course allows youth who are 14 or 15 years of age to operate tractors over 20 horsepower for hire to someone other than their parents.

For most Ohio laws, anyone under 18 years of age is considered a minor and the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) prohibits minors from working in hazardous occupations. There are certain sections of the ORC that do not apply to minors, including obtaining an age and school certificate (unless you employ children of migrant workers), keeping a list of minor employees, and paying the minimum wage.

Agricultural occupations considered hazardous to youth under 16 years of age include:

  • Operating a tractor of more than 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting implements from such tractor;
  • Operating a combine, corn picker, hay mower, harvester, hay baler or potato digger;
  • Operating a feed grinder, grain dryer, forage blower, auger conveyor or the unloading mechanism of a non-gravity type self-unloading wagon or trailer;
  • Operating a trencher, earth moving equipment, fork lift, power-driven circular, band or chain saw;
  • Working in a yard, stall, or pen occupied by a bull, boar or stud horse; or sow with suckling pigs or cow with newborn calf;
  • Felling, bucking, skidding, loading or unloading timber with butt diameter of greater than six inches;
  • Working on a ladder at a height of more than 20 feet;
  • Driving a bus, truck or automobile or riding on a tractor as a passenger;
  • Working in a forage, fruit, or grain storage facility; an upright silo within two weeks after silage has been added or when a top unloading device is operating; a manure pit; or a horizontal silo when operating a tractor for packing purposes;
  • Handling or applying pesticides with the words or symbols “Danger”, “Poison”, “Skull and Crossbones”, or “Warning” on the label;
  • Handling or using blasting agents;
  • Transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammoniaThere may be restrictions to the number of hours and when a minor can perform farm work. See the table for a summary:
14-15 years old 16-17 years old



School in


Cannot work before 7am or after 7pm.

Cannot work more than 3 hours in a school day.

Cannot work more than 18 hours per school week.

Cannot work during school hours unless employed in a certified vocational training program.

Cannot work before 7am or 6am if not employed after 8pm the previous night.

Cannot work after 11pm Sunday through Thursday.

No limitations in hours per day or per week.



School not in


Cannot be employed before 7am or after 9pm.

Cannot work more than 8 hours per day.

Cannot work more than 40 hours per week.

No limitation on starting and ending time.

No limitation in hours per day or per week.

Federal regulations require employers of youth under 16 years of age to maintain records about each employee. Minors employed by a parent or guardian are exempt from this requirement.

The Ohio Revised Code exempts agricultural employers from record keeping requirements for minors. However, the Ohio Revised Code does require an agreement as to wages for work to be performed be made between the employer and minor before employment begins. The agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties.

Additional information about the employment of minors in agriculture is available from this OSU Extension Fact Sheet:

Should I Continue Farming?

by:  Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR- Tuscarawas County

 It’s no secret that all of agriculture is suffering from years of low commodity prices and rising input costs. The economic struggles have affected you financially and physically. You’ve looked at the numbers, met with advisors, and talked to family.   The thought of selling part or your entire farm brings with it added worry and concern. What can you do?

Find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. This person may not have many answers to your questions, but they can listen to your frustrations and worries. They may be able to help you sort through the confusion and develop a course of action. Think of your situation as a picture – a set of eyes looking at the picture from the outside may see things you can’t because you are caught up in the picture.

Understand that you are not alone. Nearly every farm and farm family is in a similar situation. Don’t live in the past or dwell on what could or should have been done. Take control of the situation and develop a plan for managing the things you are able to control.


Evaluate your financial position by meeting with your lender to discuss options for restructuring debt. Can you extend the repayment terms to provide more cash flow? Contact your Extension Educator about completing a FINPACK analysis (

What are your Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timed (SMART) goals? How are your goals similar and different from those of family and/or business partners?

Develop a list of your education, experiences, and skills. How can you use these in another career? What career opportunities fit you best?


If you come to the decision that selling all or part of your farm is the best option, there are several items to address. Begin with a balance sheet and other financial information to understand your present financial situation. Doing so will help you decide how much money (and approximate number of assets) you must sell. You may want to meet with an appraiser, auctioneer, or real estate professional for help determining the expected value of assets.


Your attorney can answer questions and advise you about legal considerations related to a sale. An accountant will help minimize your tax liability and give an estimate of what you may expect to pay in taxes.

Help is Available

There are people and agencies/organizations that can help with the transition and the emotions that come with the sale. Clergy, licensed counselors, and medical professionals can help you cope. Other sources of help include:

Ohio State University Extension (

National Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264)

Ohio Workforce Training (

Ohio Job & Family Services, Office of Workforce Development (

Additional Information

Coming to the decision to sell all or a part of your farm is not an easy decision. Find someone with good listening skills. Talk to professionals, reach out for help, get answers, and make the best possible decisions. More information about this subject is available at


REMINDER- Registration will close soon…Come Join Us for the…Small Farm Conference & Trade Show

The two day conference will be held on Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio.

The conference is designed for small farm owners wanting to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them. Many topics will be offered to help landowners expand their operations. Land owners can attend workshops and seminars taught by Extension professionals and industry leaders on a wide variety of agricultural enterprises.  Attendees will also get to meet various vendors at the trade show.  The trade show will be open part of the day on Friday, and all day Saturday.

Attached is the brochure that includes a mail-in registration, the agenda with session descriptions, and the registration letter for vendors.

Please see the flyer below for additional information.

For full details, please go to

Suggestions for Managing Stress

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources

You have faced several years of poor commodity prices, depressed milk prices, increased input costs, and wet weather. You have looked for areas to reduce costs, evaluated options, implemented changes…and the financial stress continues to take a toll on your physical and mental health. What can you do?


According to the Michigan State University Extension publication “How to Create a Productive Mindset,”…The mind has 70,000 thoughts per day…that’s 70,000 opportunities. The brain is about two percent of your body weight – but uses 20 percent of your energy. Eighty percent of repetitive thoughts are negative, but don’t have to be.

In addition to the Michigan State University Extension publication mentioned earlier, Iowa State University Extension Dairy Specialists Dr. Fred Hall and Dr. Larry Tranel provide the following suggestions for coping with stress:

  • Self-Talk – remind yourself that you have been through difficult times before and will do so again.
  • Choose words like “calm”, “capable”, and “controlled” to maintain a positive mindset.
  • Use deep breathing – do this five times and release slowly.
  • Accept the situation and focus on solutions instead of focusing on the problem.
  • Avoid negative people.
  • Check in on your friends and family. Men generally don’t communicate as well as women. Phone calls or texts to friends and family are simple gestures that can be very comforting and meaningful.
  • Don’t shut out family – communicate with members about your worries and concerns. Family can provide support.

Advisory Team

Assemble a team of professionals to help you analyze your situation and provide suggestions. The team may include your veterinarian, nutritionist, agronomist, lender, accountant, attorney, and Extension Educator. Have these professionals come together to review your past performance, present situation, and goals for the near and short-term. Each professional brings a different perspective to the meeting based on his or her experiences and can be a valuable resource to analyze, answer questions, and provide recommendations.


What are your plans for the short-term and long-term? What Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timed (SMART) goals will get you where you want to be? Do other members of your family share the same vision?

What if you decide to exit the dairy business? Do you have a written exit plan? There is life after exiting the business. Talk to your attorney and accountant about the sale and tax liabilities.

Seek Professional Help

There are trained counselors in or near your community available to help. These professionals provide confidential counseling and can suggest options to best manage your situation. Names of counselors available in your area are available by contacting your physician, local health department, pastor, or conducting an online search. Do not be ashamed to seek help!


The items presented here are not going to increase milk prices or lower input costs. However, understanding your mindset, assembling an advisory team, developing a plan, and, if necessary, reaching out to use the services of professional counselors can help you better understand your situation and make well-informed decisions.


Ohio State University Extension Dairy Team, publications available at:

Helping Farm Men Under Crisis, Dr. Larry Tranel, Dairy Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Market Reality, Stress, and Grief, Dr. Fred Hall, Dairy Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset, Michigan State University Extension,


This article was originally published in the Farm and Dairy, February 28, 2019


Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast

by: Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins

Stay on top of what is happening in the field and the farm office as Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins interview experts in agronomy and farm management. Hosted by Ohio State University Extension, this podcast takes a bi-monthly dive into specific issues that impact agriculture, such as: weather, land value, policies, commodity outlooks, and more.

This podcast began in May 2018 and has a great library of podcasts to choose from. This winter, we will feature some of the Ask the Expert interviews that occurred during Farm Science Review on Farm Management topics. Catch up on the ones you missed during the show.

Subscribe through iTunes at or Stitcher at to have the newest episodes added to your playlist. Stay up to date with us on Facebook @AFMPodcast and Twitter @AFM_Podcast.


2019 Outlook Meetings to be held Across Ohio

by Amanda Douridas, Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to announce the 2019 Agricultural Outlook Meetings! In 2019 there will be seven locations in Ohio. Each location will have a presentation on Commodity Prices- Today’s YoYo. Additional topics vary by location and include U.S. Trade Policy: Where is it Headed, Examining the 2019 Ohio Farm Economy, Weather Outlook, Dairy Production Economics Update, Beef and Dairy Outlook, Consumer Trends, and Farm Tax Update.

Join the faculty from Ohio State University Extension and Ohio State Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics as they discuss the issues and trends affecting agriculture in Ohio. Each meeting is being hosted by a county OSU Extension Educator to provide a local personal contact for this meeting. A meal is provided with each meeting and included in the registration price. Questions can be directed to the local host contact.

The outlook meeting are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Date: January 14, 2019 Time: 7:30 am – 10:30 am Speakers: Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Ian Sheldon, Zoe Plakias, Aaron Wilson Location: Emmett Chapel, 318 Tarlton Rd, Circleville, OH 43113 Cost: $10.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension Pickaway County 740-474-7534 By: January 12th More information can be found at:

Date: January 17, 2019 Time: 8:00 am – noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon, Aaron Wilson Location: Der Dutchman, Plain City, 445 S Jefferson Ave. Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Union County 937-644-8117 By: January 10th More information can be found at:

Date: January 24, 2019 Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison Location: St Mary’s Hall 46 East Main St. Wakeman, OH 44889 Cost: No Charge; $20.00 if past deadline RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Huron County 419-668-8219 By: January 22nd More information can be found at:

Date: January 28, 2019 Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Aaron Wilson Location: Jewell Community Center Cost: $10.00 (after deadline $20.00) RSVP: OSU Extension, Defiance County 419-782-4771 By: January 22nd More information can be found at:

Date: January 30, 2019 Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Dianne Shoemaker, David Marrison, Kenneth Burdine Location: Fisher Auditorium Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Wayne County 330-264-8722 By: January 24th More information can be found at:

Date: February 13, 2019 Time: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon Location: Wayside Chapel, 2341 Kerstetter Rd.,  Bucyrus OH 44820 Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Crawford County 419-562-8731 or email By: February 5th More information can be found at:

Date: March 22, 2019 Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison, Ian Sheldon Location: Chamber Ag Day / Ag Outlook meeting, Darke County Romers 118 E Main St., Greenville Registration Flyer: Cost: $20 RSVP: Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215 By: March 16th More information can be found at:


What You Need to Know About Managing Millennials in Agriculture

by: Chris Zoller- Extension Educator, ANR

The exact dates vary depending upon your source, but the Pew Research Foundation has established birth years between 1981 and 1996 as the Millennial generation (also referred to as Generation Y or Gen Y) .  Researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss have identified the birth years for millennials as 1981 to 2004. Interestingly, Baby Boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) is the only generation the United States Census Bureau defines.

What considerations should you have as an employer if you have employees (family or non-family) that are considered a part of this generation?  It’s not fair to paint all Millennials with a broad brush when describing this generation, but following are a few considerations when working with this generation.

The Millennial Generation
This is considered to be the most energetic, educated, and diverse generation that is also technology savvy and conscious of social issues.  Members of this generation have been influenced by terrorist attacks, school shootings, and the emergence of the Internet.  Approximately one-third of the U.S. workforce is made up of Millennials and it’s estimated they will comprise nearly one-half of the workforce by 2020.

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility
Millennials are very protective of their time away from work.  Millennials are leaders when it comes to having flexibility in the workplace.  A Bentley University study found that Millennial employees are almost twice as likely to have a spouse or partner working at least part-time compared to the Boomer Generation.  As a result, Millennials report finding time for themselves, getting enough sleep, and managing their personal and work life as being significant concerns.
The following question was asked of the Bentley University study participants: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements if your company provided increased flexibility and/or paid parental leave?

What Do Millennials Value?  What Motivates Millennials?

Millennials are not unlike previous generations when it comes to wanting to perform meaningful work and contribute to the mission of the business.  “A survey published by the Harvard Business Review found that employees of all generations value meaningful work, yet every generation perceived that the other generations are only in it for the money, don’t work as hard, and do not care about meaning.”  I’ve reached an age where I find myself saying things like those reported in the Harvard Business Review…  Millennials also value mentoring, want to develop relationships with their employer and co-workers, desire to enhance their skills, believe training is important, and embrace technology.  This generation tends to believe that the work day doesn’t have to be ten hours.
Millennials are motivated to find ways that make production agriculture more efficient and profitable.  The entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of technology this generation has will continue to impact agriculture.  It’s happening all around us – robotic milkers, the use of drones, apps, etc.

Work Assets
The Millennial generation has many assets they can offer to agriculture that are positive.  A consumer mentality is one started with Generation X and continues today with Millennials.  This mentality will continue to force everyone in agriculture to re-think food production and be cognizant of what consumers want, need, and desire.  Knowledge of computers and related technology can help farms better manage and interpret data to make more informed decisions.  Technology is fast paced, ever changing, and will continue to influence food production.  Millennials tend to be optimistic, goal oriented, have a positive attitude, and enjoy working with others.  These are positive attributes of employees in any business.

Work Liabilities
As with all young people, Millennials lack experience.  This is normal.  Just remember this as you work with employees in this generation – they have high expectations, focus on achieving goals, and are able and willing to learn.  Millennials prefer a structured work environment, need supervision, can be impatient, and may lack skills needed to effectively deal with difficult people.

What does all of this mean for you as an employer?  Your approach to employee scheduling may be a bit different than how you’ve done it in the past – keep in mind the high value that Millennials place on achieving a work-personal life balance.  Capitalize on the desire many in this generation have to achieve goals, perform work that is meaningful, work with others, and engage in training.  In addition, allow employees with the technology skills to help you better manage your farm for the future.  Technology will continue to impact agriculture and you will need to continually explore and evaluate the best technology for your farm business.  More employees are entering agriculture with no or limited production experience.  Be aware that your training programs may need to be more focused and incorporate hands-on activities.
Multi-Generational Impacts on the Workplace, Bentley University, 2017
Generational Differences Chart, West Midland Family Center,
Millennials in Agriculture – Part 1, Michigan State University Extension, 2017

(Originally published in Farm & Dairy, September 27, 2018)

Annie’s Project Course- Empowering Women in Agriculture

by: Jacqueline Kowalski & Robin Christensen, Extension Educators



OSU Extension in Summit and Portage Counties are teaming up to offer Annie’s Project from October 9th– November 13th, 2018. Annie’s project is a six-week program designed to address risk management education for farm women. Its objective is to educate women entrepreneurs so that they are more prepared to make farm management decisions. While a large number of farm women own and operate farms, others play a major role in the decision-making process of farm operations for farm families. Annie’s Project provides in-depth sessions on topics that are important for decision-making of the family farm. The program topics covered include human resources, legal risks, financial risks, marketing risks, and production costs and risks. Sessions are designed to be very interactive between the presenters and the participants. Information presented is tailored to meet the needs of participants in their own geographical areas.

Annie was a woman who grew up in a small rural community with the life-long goal of being involved in production agriculture. She spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her husband, and together they reached their goals and achieved success. Annie’s daughter, Ruth Hambleton, a former Extension Educator for the University of Illinois, founded Annie’s Project in 2000 in honor of her mother. Annie’s Project is designed to take Annie’s life experiences and share them with other women in agriculture who are living and working in this complex, dynamic business environment. Additional details on Annie’s life can be found

The 6-week training will begin on Tuesday October 9th at 6:00pm, with dinner starting at 5:30pm. Registration is due October 5th, 2018. Classes will rotate between the Summit and Portage County Extension offices in Stow and Ravenna. The course fee is $100.

Please contact Robin Christensen with questions or for an application at 330-296-6432 or e-mail at


Understanding the Generational Differences

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

We hear about and read labels for different generations and we know there are differences among them.  What do the differences mean if you are managing people from different generations?  Depending upon the publication you read or with whom you speak, there may be a slight difference in birth start and end years, but the following table provides some general guidelines.

Generation Name Births Start Births End Age Range
Baby Boomer 1946 1964 72 – 54 yrs. old
Generation X (the lost generation) 1965 1985 53 – 33 yrs. Old
Generation Y (Millenials) 1980 1994 38 – 24 yrs. Old
Generation Z

(the unknown)

1995 2012 23 – 6 yrs. Old
Generation Alpha 2013 2025 5


Each generation has its thoughts, beliefs, and ideals with respect to a number of items.  What are the differences with respect to employment?  It’s not accurate or fair to say that every person who falls into a particular generational category is the same.  However, general statements can be made about each generation.

Generational Differences:

  Baby Boomers Generation X Generation Y
Business Focus Long Hours Productivity Contribution
Work Ethic & Values Loyal

Question authority

Strive to be their best

Value ambition, collaboration, equality, personal growth, & teamwork

Work efficiently

Want respect from younger workers

Willing to take risks

Care more about work/life balance

Work/family balance is important

Like a casual work environment

Outcome oriented

Output focused

Rely on technology

Work ethic no longer mandates 10 hr. work days

Criticized for not being loyal to a particular job/employer

Believe technology allows them to work flexibly

Work ethic no longer mandates 10 hr. work days

High expectation to be mentored

Goal oriented

Looking for meaningful work

Obsessed with career development

Prefer diversity, informality, technology, and fun

Thrive on collaboration

Training is important

Preferred Work Environment Humane

Equal opportunity

Warm, friendly

Functional, positive, & fun

Fast paced & flexible

Access to leadership

Access to information





Fun, flexible, want continuous feedback


Work is…



A career

Work & then retire


Difficult challenge

Just a job


A means to an end


Flexible work arrangements


What They are Looking for in a Job

Ability to “shine”

Make a contribution

Team approach

Need clear and concise job expectations

Dynamic leaders

Cutting edge with technology

Flexible scheduling

Input valued on merit, not age/seniority

Must see the reason for the task

Want to be challenged

Treated with respect

Friendly environments

Flexible scheduling

Expect to be paid well

Want to make a difference

As a product of the “drop down and click menu”, may need to be given options

Work Ethic Driven

Workaholic – 60 hr. weeks



Not work long hours




What’s next?



View on Work/Life Balance Hesitant to take time off – result is an imbalance between work & family More focus on maintaining a balance

Don’t worry about losing their place if they take time off

Flex time, job sharing

Balance work, life, and community involvement



So what does this mean for agricultural employers?

  • The Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age.
  • Generations X and Y have a different outlook on work and family life as compared to previous generations. The more recent generations place a greater value on maintaining a balance between family and work.  Workers in these generations are less likely to willingly work extra hours.  They are not workaholics like the Baby Boomer generation.
  • Flexibility is a key word when it comes to Generation X and Y. Members of this generation want to be able to attend their son or daughter’s baseball game or have dinner with their family and then return to work.
  • Money may not be the motivating factor for some in Generation X or Y. Members in these groups often want flex scheduling, to collaborate with others, and not perform routine tasks.
  • Generations X and Y have a greater focus on technology. This can be a real plus to a farm as the use of technology grows.  These generations are much more familiar with and accepting of technology.
  • Generations Z and Alpha are too young to make any conclusions. However, we do know that these generations are heavily focused on technology.  Stay tuned…

The article is an introduction to the topic of understanding the differences across the generations.  Each generation brings with it challenges and opportunities.  As you think about your next employee or the next generation to enter your business, what factors must you consider? Use the information provided here as you plan for additions to your farm team.


(Note: This article was published originally in the Farm and Dairy, July 26, 2018)

Retreat Empowers Women to be Better Farm Managers

by: Amanda Douridas & Emily Adams, OSU Extension Educators

Female farmers, whether farming on their own or in a partnership, realize the importance of the business side of farming. Annie’s Project provides education and a support network to enhance business skills of women involved in all aspects of agriculture.

Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved farm business partner with her husband. Annie’s life experiences inspired her daughter, a university Extension agent, to create a program for women living and working in the complex, dynamic agriculture business environment. Annie’s Project fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in farm women.

Two weekend retreats are being offered in Ohio this winter. Women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Past participants have had this to say about the program:

“I changed my mind about how to approach communication with my in-laws as business partners.”

“I have gained tools to help improve management of our farm and insight on how to communicate the resources to other members of the farm.”

“I appreciated getting to meet others with a shared interest.”

“I encourage any woman to attend one of these great programs!”

The firs retreat will be held Dec 1-3 at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center, 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, OH 43755. The participant fee is $105 per person, which includes all materials and meals. Lodging is $99 per room per night with up to four people per room. Registration deadline is November 17. For questions about this program, please contact Emily Adams at or 740-622-2265.

The second retreat will be Feb 2-4 at Western Buckeye Christian Camp, 5455 Roeth Rd, Houston, OH 45333. The cost is $95 per person and includes all lodging, materials and meals. Please bring bedding and towels. The registration deadline is January 19. For questions about this retreat, please contact Amanda Douridas at or 937-484-1526.

Registration for both workshops can be found at: