To take a fresh look at farm labor, from the farmer viewpoint, is the object of a series of three identical farm labor conferences to be presented in January, by the Kansas Association of wheat Growers.

Under the title of "Let's Give This Farm a Hand," and subtitled, "A Farm Labor Conference for Farmers, Managers and Family Partners," the meetings are scheduled for Jan. 9, at the City Limits Convention Center, in Colby; Jan. 10, at the 4-H Building, in Dodge City; and Jan. 11, at the Ramada Inn, in Hutchinson.

The series of meetings is being underwritten by the Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, headquartered in Hays. Sunflower is a provider of electric energy to a number of rural electric cooperatives that serve 34 counties in western Kansas.

Among the topics to be discussed during each of the meetings are becoming the employer of choice; communication; employee selection; training and evaluating; compensation; and dealing with a multicultural workforce.

The two presenters for the meetings include Juan Marinez, national program director on farm workers, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Sarah Fogleman, ag economist, on the faculty of Kansas State University.

Fogleman is recognized as a leader in the field of employee compensation in agriculture, and since becoming a member of the K-State faculty, in 1999, has become a sought-after speaker dealing with human resource issues on the farm.

Marinez also is the assistant director for outreach with the Julian Somora Research Institute, at Michigan State University, and is a co-developer of the dairy labor training program, at Michigan State.

Members of the Kansas Association of wheat Growers may attend the conference for a cost of $40; the non-member fee is $60; and $20 per person for additional attendees from the same farm operation. Persons interested are urged to call the KAWG office, in Manhattan, at 1-800-748-8034.

KAWG Executive Vice President Brett Myers said, "This series of meetings is another step in the KAWG efforts to provide critical information and training to Kansas wheat producers and Kansas farmers, in general Farm Labor is a very serious business, as it is in any industry, and we want to make available the very latest in human resource utilization information to our Kansas producers."

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