Mentoring Farm Ranch Employees
Dean Wang works alongside employees on his ranch near Baker, Montana. A key component he advises helps to gain their trust. Photo Credit: Montana Stockgrowers Association

“It is important to acquire all of the knowledge that you can and to continue to learn,” says Montana rancher and businessman, Dean Wang, who recently shared the following advice on mentoring employees on farm and ranch operations.

My banking, rodeo, and ranching mentors were instrumental in my development and here are a few items I have learned from them:

Timing is critical.

Try to capitalize on opportunities, like marketing or hiring good people. It’s often better to be lucky than good, but try to pay attention to your surroundings. Try to keep learning, be opened-minded and soft-hearted.

On retaining good employees.

Treat others as you wish to be treated, and this is especially important when it comes to employees. Never ask them to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself. Sometimes your co-workers/employees need to see you doing things, just to prove to them that you can. Occasionally, you must qualify yourself in front of your crew.

Speak plainly.

There is more than one way to walk from one end of the shop to the other. Be patient. We often have more compassion and patience for strangers at the Post Office than we do for our own family or crew. The needs in the Ag sector mimic the urban sector in as much as we need to cultivate skilled employees and innovation in the workplace. Treating employees and customers with courtesy and respect is imperative to growing your business. The cost savings of retaining quality employees allows you to provide them and your customers with benefits that ensure they stay. It has to be a win-win situation for everyone.

Mentoring Farm and Ranch Employees

About the author: Dean Wang is a 4th generation rancher from a family who homesteaded in 1909 in Southeastern Montana. Dean attended the University of Montana, in Missoula on a football scholarship, which led to an opportunity to complete in college rodeo, which lead him to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA to study Business and Finance. Dean was National Intercollegiate Steer Wrestling Champion in 1990, and 3-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in steer wrestling. He returned home in 1994, went to work at the Bank of Baker and married his wife, Karen. The Wangs have four children and operate three ranches across Montana.

Article first appeared as “Human Capital in the Agriculture Industry” in the 2015 First Quarter Newsletter by Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. Dean Wang is Chairman of Montana GLCI.

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