Staffing and Organizing Your Team

Event Details


June 22, 2023
June 29, 2023
July 6, 2023
July 13, 2023
July 20, 2023
July 27, 2023






Cornell CALS

Course applicable to all agricultural commodities

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development has opened registration for Staffing and Organizing Your Team, a six-week course in the Supervisory Leadership Certificate program. Staffing and Organizing Your Team materials release June 16, 2023 and live weekly Zoom discussions will be held from 3 to 4 PM ET each Thursday from June 22 through July 27, 2023. Participation in the live sessions is highly encouraged and provides a valued opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and networking. Registration is $275 and closes June 16. Continuing education credits are now available for this course and the Supervisory Leadership Certificate program. Course topics include: becoming a preferred employer, personnel planning, job descriptions, recruiting and interviewing, hiring and onboarding.

Who should attend? 

This course, and the whole certificate series, is appropriate for both new and experienced farm supervisors and managers, and those preparing to become supervisors. All participants will learn leadership concepts and practice skills that will improve their ability to build a positive workplace and get results through leading others. Past course participant management experience ranges from a few years to over 20 years. All participants say the course content made them more effective at their job.

From the comfort of your home or office, watch prerecorded presentations on your own schedule, and engage with classmates and instructors during weekly, live discussion sessions. Corresponding assignments are due each week. To get the most out of the experience, expect to spend approximately two hours per week on lessons and assignments.

Direct questions to Rachel McCarthy, Agricultural Supervisory Leadership Coordinator, at


Learn more about the Agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate program
Supervisors are critical to the success of farm businesses. They have a major impact both on employees' daily work experiences and on the production performance of the business. The Agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate helps farm supervisors and managers learn and apply human resource management practices and leadership skills that foster rewarding workplaces and drive business results. Confident managers who thoughtfully apply leadership and management skills improve employee performance, develop teams, reduce employee turnover, and increase employee engagement. The courses within the certificate program will offer extensive practice and engagement activities to build confidence and skill sets.

Each course includes up to six weeks of instruction on topics that will build your leadership and management skills. Instruction includes a combination of pre-recorded lectures, reading assignments, written exercises, live discussion sessions and quizzes. For those looking to learn more on a particular topic, supplemental videos and articles may be recommended by the instructor. To get the most out of the course, students should plan to spend two to four hours each week on combined course activities.

Courses in the Agricultural Supervisory Leadership certificate include:
- Transitioning to Supervisor: Develop essential communication skills and manage conflict. Lead a multi-cultural team. Build an effective workplace culture.
- Organizing Work for High Quality Results: Develop clear expectations and standard operating procedures. Delegate effectively. Diagnose and correct performance problems.
- Managing Performance: Understand motivation. Harness the power of performance feedback and coaching. Build clear and effective workplace communications. Set safety expectations. Conduct effective performance improvements.
- Staffing and Organizing Your Team: Develop job descriptions. Learn how to find potential employees, interview and select the right people. Implement new hire documentation, employment authorization, and onboarding: bringing new employees into the business successfully and productively.
- Employee Development and Training: Identify training needs. Understand learning styles. Design and plan learning experiences that accommodate learner needs. Develop effective training skills and techniques. Evaluate learning results and training effectiveness.
- Ethics and Employment Regulations for Supervisors: Implement responsible and ethical labor practices and understand why this matters for agriculture. Recognize and prevent sexual harassment. Understand and follow minimum wage and overtime laws. Implement Equal Employment Opportunity laws to prevent discrimination and harassment. Use an employee handbook. Handle employee discipline and termination.

Course instructors include:
Richard Stup, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development Specialist
Elizabeth Higgins, Ag Business Management/Production Economics Extension Specialist with the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture team
Libby Eiholzer, Dairy Technical Specialist, Cargill
Bob Milligan, Cornell University Professor Emeritus
Kaitlyn Lutz, Bilingual Dairy Management Specialist

Transitioning to Supervisor students say:
All modules had great value. It got me to rethink some things. The elements fit together pretty well, building upon each other. The breakout rooms were good. I liked the variety of learning. I found the country differences extremely valuable to better understand our multicultural workforce. Communication lessons gave perspective on different ways to communicate effectively with your team. The lesson with power distances was helpful to teach different ways people of other countries view topics. I really enjoyed the videos during the course and being able to ask questions to instructors and getting a quick response. The self-evaluation to find out what kind of a supervisor you are was helpful.

Organizing Work for High Quality Results students say:
All the aspects of the course were good. The weekly zoom meetings I think are important. The break-out sessions were very useful. It allowed us to discuss similar issues with peers. I thought the course was great. I liked being able to ask questions to instructors and getting a quick response.
Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development's mission is to help farms and agribusinesses build committed and effective teams who will carry out the important work of feeding the world. We believe that agricultural work can, and should be, engaging and rewarding for everyone involved. Managers can build committed teams by applying the best human resource management practices for the agricultural setting. Key program goals include: 
- Provide leadership and management development education focused on farm supervisors, middle managers, and owners
- Clarify workforce regulations that apply to farms and increasing levels of compliance 
- Build consistent channels of communication and learning opportunities about agricultural workforce issues 
- Conduct research into workforce problems and challenges that confront agriculture

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