|Cassaday Farms LLC|
Jr. grew up on a family farm passed down from generation to generation.
He bought the farm from his father in 1999 and now employs over 80
hourly workers. Cassaday Farms LLC grows anything from asparagus to
zucchini and spans over two separate counties in New Jersey.
The working relationship between George Cassaday Jr. and his employees is centered around trust and respect. “I trust my employees and treat them with respect because the way you treat them is the way they will treat you.” One way that George displays his trust is by designating responsibilities to his veteran employees. “I have two guys in charge that just keep track of men picking, I even let some workers handle money, things like that.” Designating responsibilities also helps prevent accidents from occurring because George makes sure that the right employees are operating the more dangerous tasks.
Most of George’s employees get paid a piece work rate that amounts to more money than a minimum hourly wage. His workers are compensated for the amount of product that is sold. He also adds incentives for workers that stay until harvest is complete. He feels that the toughest problem he encounters as a vegetable producer is finding enough help in the farm’s busiest times, which he hopes monetary incentives can alleviate. “When prices are high I pass it on to them by increasing their piece work rate. When prices are low I only pay them for what I can sell, for example super select cucumbers.” In addition to their regular pay, Cassaday’s employees receive free housing on the farm. The Cassaday Farm has enough housing for all workers with facilities less than five years old built to accommodate what the employees wanted.
Growing up on the farm, George learned that communication was an important factor in dealing with a migrant labor force. “I keep a good rapport with the men and speaking Spanish helps a great deal.” When worker discrepancies arise, George has found that communication has been the best route to solving difficult problems. “I usually try to talk with a third party about incidents and give second chances when they are due.” Being a fair employer helps Cassaday Farms LLC keep many of the same employees returning every year, which leads to a reliable group of workers and an overall good farming operation.