What are the secrets to an engaged farming team?

Find out on this episode of the podcast with Brian Bates! Brian has previously been on the podcast and he also participated in our Thriving Farmers Summit in December. This is the interview I did with him during the summit, which I wanted to release as a podcast episode because it’s just so good! Brian lays down the best information for us on how to intentionally narrow focus. He also discusses seasonal part-time labor vs. year round full-time employees, the role the team plays in Bear Creek Organic Farm, why they have no job descriptions, and how he makes his farm profitable in a small town setting. Enjoy!

You’ll Hear:

How Brian got started in farming 2:35


What philosophy Brian & Anne have regarding building their farm team 9:45



Why they don’t have job descriptions 14:22


What their hiring process looks like and how it differs from standard hiring procedures 21:40

How Brian deals with the hard times and inclement weather 27:28

How they approach weekends at Bear Creek 37:00

How intentionality has played into their farm planning 44:35

About the Guest

Brian Bates owns and operates Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan with his wife Anne. Brian is passionate about small farm finances, making a living doing what you love, and savvy marketing. With no secrets, a lot of ideas, and some serious elbow-grease, Bear Creek has grown dramatically in five years to over $400k in sales on just 2 acres. Growing from part-time farmers to full-time farmers with 6 employees and a growing family, Anne & Brian are committed to the process, their people, and serious customer service. Brian and Anne have been honored as Entrepreneurs of the Year and Local Food Heroes by their community and in 2018 Brian was named one of Fruit+Vegetable’s Top 40 Under 40 Next Generation Leaders. Follow them on Facebook & Instagram @bearcreekorganicfarm for daily updates from the farm!

Resources and mentions

Bear Creek Organic Farm Website, Facebook, Instagram

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We also have six free eguides to help you be more effective on your farm (Winter Growing, Pastured Poultry, Washing Shed Efficiency, Profitable Farmers Toolkit, what to look for in a farm property, etc), which you can download here.

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