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Abstract

Farm business need to attract, retain and motive valuable workers, and meet productivity and quality goals in order to achieve their strategic objectives. Willow Bend Farm, a dairy operation run by the Muller family in upstate New York, created and implemented a strategic compensation system to help achieve farm growth over its nearly forty-year history. This paper is a case study of Willow Bend’s total compensation system from 1957-1996, during which time the farm experienced tremendous growth. The owners of Willow Bend Farm implemented an array of compensation programs over this time period, including a unique worker cow-ownership program that, by design, increases worker’s initial investment as new calves are born. Other incentives target key behaviors necessary to farm success.

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