Even though this is a linear series, job creation is a non-linear activity. While reading all the helpful employer regulatory stuff (where is that sarcasm font, anyway?) over the last two weeks, I had to remind myself exactly why becoming an employer sounded like a good idea two months ago.
In our case, what first triggered the notion of creating a job for a hired hand was a certain clumsiness on my part. Last summer I was knocked down four times by determined goats, barely avoiding serious injury on a couple of occasions. Having an extra set of hands around would improve workplace safety on the ranch. Stubbornly working alone is a major contributor to injuries among farmers and ranchers.
Second is the upcoming challenge of developing new wintering facilities. In addition to backing me up on regular chores, we could use a hired hand this next year to carry out fence building and barn repair tasks while my husband is busy on targeted grazing projects. Investing money into an employee instead of a contractor could fulfill objectives for both safety and necessary capital improvements for herd expansion.
If we don’t increase revenue, then the cost of an employee comes directly out of our pockets and reduces our income. That’s not my idea of growing the economy, and this new employee must be part of growing revenue. To that end, this past week was focused on a long term project to establish a new agricultural cooperative.
The purpose of the co-op is to provide USDA processing for direct access by producers to retail markets, and to supply consumer demand for local food in local markets. Any time the farmer or rancher can capture a higher percentage of the consumer dollar by cutting out processing and shipping costs, it increases the sustainability of the family farm and supports local food production. A producer owned co-op can provide the level of farm to plate traceability that consumers are demanding.
The spin-off benefit is more new jobs. Right there is the third reason for becoming an employer – to free up more of my time to work on projects like the new co-op, so we can afford to hire somebody to build fences and chase goats, so we can take advantage of the co-op services, so the co-op can keep employees working, so the co-op employees can spend money, so other local employers can afford to hire employees, so we have a thriving economy to welcome home our sons and daughters who have left the farm seeking employment.
Economic growth means each new job generates more new jobs. Even creating a job for a hired hand is a part of the growth spiral. And the big wheel keeps on turning . . .
For previous stories in the series, see the links below:
[photo credit: kandyjaxx]