Alberta Feedlot Management Guide: People Management

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 Section 7, the People Management unit of the Alberta Feedlot Management Guide is made up of eleven fact sheets providing information on working with individuals and organizations that assist in the day to day operation of a feedlot. The fact sheets vary from providing tips on working with professionals such as lawyers, accountants, veterinarians and financial advisers; suggestions on personnel management and hints for using organizations such as universities and government agencies and their researchers as resources for effectively and efficiently running a feedlot.

Working With Your Lawyer
An outline of things to consider when selecting a lawyer and explanations of legal terms and processes encountered in a legal transaction. When selecting a lawyer, a feedlot operator must determine the type of lawyer he needs, whether it be for litigation or corporate purposes, and their experience with and knowledge of the cattle industry. An explanation of legal billing practices is provided along with a brief outline of terms encountered in the litigation process. The importance of seeking out a lawyer who is right for the job, and of keeping the lines of communication open is stressed.

Working With Your Accountant
A breakdown of the range of services a producer can receive from his accountant ranging from basic compliance services to services related to present and future problems and issues. By working together with an accountant and forming a clear understanding of the needs of the business as well as what assistance the accountant can provide, a producer can receive a range of services that will make the accountant a valuable member of his management team. Traditional compliance services include the preparation of financial statements, income tax and other information returns for a business and can vary according to the complexity of the report required. Non compliance services relate to present and future problems and issues and can include a variety of services involving analytical problem solving skills and knowledge of a business.

Working With Your Financial Institution
A discussion of the team approach needed between financial institutions and feedlot operators in order to fulfill joint expectations and have a successful business relationship. A feedlot operator must address the lender’s concerns of character, capacity and collateral before a final credit decision can be made. In order to do so, there must be clear communication with the financial institution and the operator must supply clear records containing financial information which includes accurate historical records, projections, enterprise analysis and professionally prepared accrual financial statements. Documentation may also include a formalized business plan which provides an indication of current business operations and strategies for future development. The financial institution in turn, should demonstrate an accurate understanding and level of commitment toward the feedlot industry and its risks, the required expertise and capacity for such business and competitive and fair costs associated with the financial services.

Improving Personnel Management – A Feedlot Focus
Some tips for feedlot operators towards developing effective management practices by the hiring and retention of qualified, well motivated employees. Included is a list of seven steps for employers to follow when hiring a new employee to ensure that expectations of both the employer and employee are clearly understood. An important way to begin is the writing of a job description that will clearly define the responsibilities of the employee, as well as reporting structure and standards expected of him. Responsibilities of the employer towards the employee are outlined as well, with the need for achievement, growth, responsibility and recognition being the primary factor affecting the retention of good employees. The influence on an organization’s profit / loss margin by the hiring and retention of good staff is stressed.

Working With Your Consulting Nutritionist / Feedmill
A short guide for working with a feedmill or nutritionist to make the best nutrition and management decisions for a feedlot. To successfully use nutrition management as a tool to maximize an operation’s competitive edge, a feedlot operator must obtain objective information on nutritional needs presented in an unbiased manner. He can consult with a feedmill representative or a consulting nutritionist in order to attain the optimum mix for his cattle, or he can put together his own set of specifications and bid to several feedmills. Advantages and disadvantages of each method of obtaining information are presented, but the importance of proper research for informed decision making is stressed.

Working With Your Veterinarian
An outline of the services a veterinarian provides to a feedlot operation which vary from treatment of sick animals to the implementation of a feedlot health program. The goal of a cost effective feedlot health program is to maximize animal production within the objectives of the individual feedlot operation with production programs varying according to the services delivered. To achieve this goal, an efficient record keeping system is vital, as well as a clear understanding between the operator and the veterinarian of what a health management program should include, how it would be implemented and what it would cost.

The New Employee and the Employee Information Handbook
A look at the importance of an Employee Information Handbook to the orientation of new feedlot employees including an outline of the information that should be provided. Topics to be included would be an explanation of the organizational structure of the business; terms of employment including hours, shift scheduling, payroll information, and rules of employment; and an outline of the employee wage scale and benefits. Providing a new employee with an Employee Information Handbook will prove to be a cost effective and efficient time management tool for the introduction of a new staff member to an organization.

Employee Performance Evaluations
Description of Employee Performance Evaluations, a tool for feedlot managers to provide feedback to employees on their job performance. Evaluations can assist in identifying training and development needs of the employee and should aid in making sound personnel decisions respecting pay, promotion, transfer or discipline. Practical suggestions for the design and performance of evaluations in a manner that would benefit both the organization and employees are included.

Working With Your University
An explanation of the role that universities can play benefiting the cattle industry as a source of information, research, specialists and education. Universities can provide the most up to date and reliable information to producers through a variety of media such as speakers, publications, courses, meetings and the Internet. University research is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of the Canadian cattle industry in the international marketplace; and as a source of trained, knowledgeable specialists. A table is included showing the major Canadian universities which are involved in beef cattle research.

Working With Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
A brief review of the services offered by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development including a table showing where to get local services and information. Alberta Agriculture specialists can be a source of useful information on multiple issues affecting beef production, and by utilizing their services producers can reduce costs of production and improve overall productivity of the herd. A producer can access services by consulting Alberta Agriculture’s website, Ropin’ the Web or by calling the Ag Info Centre or any of the thirteen district offices listed.

Working With Agriculture Canada
A summary of the types of research of interest to cattle producers conducted at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centres. Of the 19 research centres in Canada, two centres in Alberta and one in Brandon, Manitoba have the mandate to conduct studies for the benefit of beef cattle production. They are the Lethbridge Research Centre and the Lacombe Research Centre and their associated substations. Tables showing the areas of research for each centre and a table providing contact information are also included.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Stacey Tames.
This information published to the web on August 25, 2009.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 10, 2011.