Labor tracking and employee management on any sized farm operation is always a challenge, but it is particularly difficult as the size of the operation increases. Labor is generally the largest expense for fruit and vegetable growers and as the scale of an operation grows, finding ways to save money and boost efficiency is essential. Managing many farms at once, across large regions or even across different countries creates many unique challenges. Finding the right tools to help make timekeeping, productivity tracking, payroll calculations, and employee management possible on this scale is vital or the task quickly becomes unmanageable. This article will explore some of the unique challenges facing commercial agriculture companies and how centralized, digitized farm management software can help.

Growing season shifts means shifting labor needs

Most fruit and vegetable crops have specific planting and harvesting seasons, leading to fluctuating demand for labor. Usually, this requires hiring workers seasonally and changing the number of workers as the labor needs change closer to harvest times. Managing many farms in different geographical locations with different growing seasons makes this even more difficult to coordinate.

Farm labor tools should be able to handle these fluctuating staff changes. The workload on a farm can vary significantly depending on factors such as weather conditions, crop cycles, and pest infestations. This variability makes it difficult to maintain a consistent and stable workforce, leading to challenges in workforce planning and management.

Easily uploading employee data and organizing workers into crews and to specific locations is an important feature. Being able to ensure there are enough workers at each location to do the work and to reassign workers as needed is key to managing unpredictable challenges as they arise.

Coordinating and communicating with a large and diverse workforce can be challenging. Efficient communication channels and strategies are necessary to ensure that tasks are carried out effectively and that workers are informed about changes in schedules or procedures. Having digital records and easily accessible work orders on mobile devices means workers do not have to wait for managers to find them to assign new tasks.

Although farm labor is often described as unskilled, training temporary workers on farm procedures is costly and being able to easily rehire well-performing employees who have been trained in previous seasons is extremely valuable. Different stages of farming require specific skills, and ensuring that the workforce possesses the necessary skills for tasks like planting, harvesting, and equipment operation can be a challenge. Maintaining organized records of past seasons employees, what training they have had and their productivity records help ensure the most efficient workers can be rehired and promoted. Being able to easily reactivate and update their information season over season makes for much smoother transitions and less overhead management when workers arrive for the season.



Compliance with regulations across different jurisdictions

Compliance with labor laws and regulations, including those related to wages, working hours, and safety standards, can be complex. Large farm organizations must navigate these regulations across many jurisdictions to avoid legal issues and ensure fair and ethical treatment of their workforce.

Effective farm labor management and time tracking software for big agribusiness must be able to accommodate various minimum wage and payroll requirements. Being able to assign different pay rates based on different wage standards in every growing region and being able to update these as labor laws change is key to maintaining records required to pass audits.

Additionally, being able to calculate piece rates, hourly wages and overtime pay without consolidated records is an incredibly time-consuming task for administrators. Having a farm labor management tool do the math and generate payroll reports can lead to many hours saved during payroll. Digitizing records can also be updated and corrected easily when mistakes are made.

During audits, regulatory bodies scrutinize payroll and time-tracking records to verify compliance with labor regulations and safety standards. Accurate work records contribute to the farm's credibility, helping to build trust with stakeholders, customers, and regulatory authorities. Having easily generated reports from centralized records speeds up the process immensely, eliminating the steps of compiling records from various locations.

Pairing work records with harvested inventory information provides a further boost to safety regulations and auditing processes by linking employee data with the end products. Tracking down inventory for recalls and audits is possible with a few button clicks as opposed to hours spent combing through records in various formats and locations.

Farm labor is in short supply and high demand. Commercial agriculture operations cannot afford to lose access to foreign worker programs due to poor record keeping and an inability to prove to auditors labor laws for these programs are being met. Generating review reports and submitting paperwork to keep compliant with these programs is sped up with good farm labor tracking software.

Additionally, these records offer valuable insights for continuous improvement, enabling farmers to analyze trends, identify areas for optimization, and implement best practices. In the dynamic agricultural landscape, where accountability and sustainability are paramount, accurate work records not only facilitate regulatory compliance but also showcase a commitment to excellence and responsible farming practices.

The challenges of labor tracking and employee management in agriculture, especially on larger farm operations, underscore the critical need for innovative solutions. As the scale of agricultural operations increases, so do the complexities in managing a fluctuating workforce, complying with diverse regulations, and optimizing overall efficiency.

The shifting labor needs during growing seasons, variable workloads, and the necessity for efficient communication and coordination highlight the importance of advanced tools. Centralized farm management software, equipped with features like easily uploading employee data, organizing workers, and ensuring seamless communication, emerges as a vital solution. It not only streamlines workforce planning but also enhances responsiveness to unpredictable challenges.

Farm labor tracking software not only accelerates compliance efforts but also provides valuable insights for continuous improvement and sustainable farming practices. As agriculture continues to evolve, embracing digitized and centralized solutions becomes not just a necessity for compliance but a strategic imperative for excellence in the dynamic agricultural landscape.

Croptracker develops agtech solutions for industry leaders. Located in Eastern Ontario, Canada, our mission is to make crop production safer, more efficient, and more profitable. Designed in partnership with fresh market producers and distributors, every tool we create is based on direct industry feedback. Croptracker’s award-winning farm software optimizes recordkeeping, labor tracking, production and cost management. Our integrative Harvest Quality Vision technology offers instant empirical analysis of crop samples exactly when you need it. Optimize your harvest season with Croptracker’s customizable solutions. Visit to learn more about our products and contact us for app based solutions.