Given the fast increase of the number of non-racing farms in Central Kentucky in the past several years, it was evident from industry discussion that workforce needs in that sub-sector were also rising. Through personal meetings with multiple farms a collaborative group of ten employers was formed. With the knowledge that many employers had a second facility out of state, it became apparent that upper management, in the form of assistant farm managers, was the most critical position needed for their businesses to operate at full force.
Through group discussion, the key hurdle identified was not the lack of a pool of qualified applicants, but the ability to source those individuals and confirm they possessed the skills needed for each facility.
The first step in accomplishing this is confirming the need within the industry and being able to accurately recruit individuals to fill those needs. Therefore, the group is developing an industry-wide survey that will identify the size of farms and demand projections for particular positions, analyze current trends in recruitment and hiring, and better understand issues related to staff retention and reasons for employee turnover. The information provided will form an industry baseline from which recruitment strategies can be developed.
Through the success of the first non-racing farm collaborative group, based in the Central Kentucky, a second employer group has been formed in the greater Louisville area. Although it is comprised of similar type farms, the geographic difference in client demographics has made the addition of a second group necessary. Launched in the summer of 2021, this second group is quickly getting underway with data collection and solution building in their region.