Fields of Farmers | How It Works – Vetting and Selecting

This morning I took a friend to the airport so I didn’t get a chance to write my Friday post until now. We’ve been talking about Fields of Farmers by Joel Salatin

This week we’re on Chapter 9 in the How it Works section of the book.

Vetting and Selecting

There are so, so many things that go into this process. I’m sure that as you read this chapter, you noticed things that you thought were “plain crazy” and wondered why we didn’t have other things added to it.

By all means make it your own!

Cover--Fields of FarmersJoel puts it this way:

Polyface is our business. Our farm. We don’t ask for government subsidies, concessions, or handouts. We can accept or reject anyone we want and we honor the right of any other farm to do the same. It’s a not-so-subtle way to carry categorically reject political correctness, affirmative action, and all the other diversity-based anti-talent protocols out there dominating institutional selection processes. It does indeed matter what you look like, how you handle yourself, whether you can carry two 5 gallon buckets of water, and not wear entitlement on your sleeve. This has nothing to do with race or ethnicity; it has everything to do with demeanor and hygiene.

Does this sound harsh to you? Or right on?

On the website we articulate the attitude and spirit we want. We seek bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self-starters. We don’t want hangers-on. We don’t want people waiting for hand-out or sporting a victim mentality. Dependency has no place at Polyface. Being up front like this ensures that we get the best of the best. For too long, farming has suffered from a cultural stereotype depicting backward, peasant-styled personas. We’re promoting the Jeffersonian intellectual agrarian. The farmer-entrepreneur. Perhaps we should call her the agraria-preneur. Eager to learn, eager to work, eager to stretch and be challenged.
Unlike most businesses, government agencies, and colleges, we don’t even ask, anywhere, for religious or ethnic affiliation. To me, that is far more open and embracing an application process that does ask for those things…

From Polyface perspective, a job farming should be coveted as much as a football player or being the top lawyer or world-renowned doctor. The calling to farm is sacred.

interns 2013

I know this sounds offensive to some people. I’m well aware of the attacks of vilify our family and me specifically for daring to describe the appearance and attitude that fits for us. Guess what? It’s our farm. We’re the ones who make the calls and knock on doors to get customers. We’re the ones who stay up with sick calves. We’re the ones who spend sleepless nights keeping the coyotes out of the chickens. We’re the ones who fix the fences when storms knock trees over on them. We’re the ones who carry water, gut the chickens, move the pigs, build the intern housing, pay the bills and face bureaucratic wrath for failing to dot an “i” or cross a “t” on a host of inane government forms.

To those offended by this discussion, I simply offer you the hand of a farmer and invite you to wait on in, the water is fine. Join me with your own individualized swim stroke. Have at it. We’ll be friends anyway. The world is plenty big enough to accommodate your way and my way. I’ll respect yours and ask for your respect in return. We don’t have to agree. I do believe that our Polyface stance and demeanor have been foundational to our farming success. When our position fails to create success, I hope and pray all be humble enough to change the position. Until then, I’m incorrigible. Ha!

This chapter goes on into the nitty gritty details of “how” we choose interns. It talks about the spreadsheet we use, the grading scale and what things we look for.

Joel talks a little about our questionnaire and tailoring it to fit your own needs.

I’m not sure what kind of discussion this chapter will generate, but let’s wade on in…

Fire away!

Until next week,

Happy Friday!

If you’re just tuning in, here’s what we’ve covered so far:

If you’re just visiting today, you can buy Fields of Farmers from Polyface here or Amazon here.

2006 LANDSCAPE-001

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.

9 Responses to Fields of Farmers | How It Works – Vetting and Selecting

  1. Jennifer Ludwigsen says:

    A part of me will forever want to be the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed intern you described. Unfortunately, I’ve passed my prime for such opportunities…I’m older now, with a family I need to protect both financially and developmentally. I need to be here…maintaining the stable life I’ve built…..not chasing after dreams. But I haven’t lost my drive.

    Someday I will make backyard farming and self-sustainability a part of my everyday life. Had I known what I know now, say…oh about ten years ago, my life would be very different indeed….but what fun would that be? To know what you want at the exact moment you can get it? No – I think instead I was meant to learn year by year, expanding my definition of “happy,” until I can finally fall into a bed of self-made contentment. Maintain your rules and regulations for you interns….but know you inspire generations by simply existing.

  2. Paula Wick says:

    Hi Sheri. I’m not being rude, I just happened to notice that some of the text could use a little proofreading. That is one of my strong suits. While I have never worked as a professional editor, I have done a tremendous amount of business writing.
    I really love your site, and the things you stand for. Though I probably would not be able to hang as an intern, I would love to help some other way. I could proof and correct text right here in my home, thanks to the marvel that is the internet.
    If you are interested, please let me know.
    Paula Wick
    P.S. 1911 is not the year I was born, it’s my favorite verse of Scripture (as in Revelation 19:11)

    • Sheri Salatin says:

      Hi Paula,
      Thank you so much! I can only plead temporary extreme exhaustion!! Yikes. I went back and corrected everything. This is what happens when you try out a new program for speech to text and then don’t read over every word. So sorry about that.

      Have a great day!!

  3. Theresa says:

    hi sheri – i’ve really been enjoying your posts on the new book, and i’m looking forward to reading it. just a tip from a part-time proofreader: you might want to go back and look at those last two paragraphs of excerpts. it looks like they were maybe pasted in and some punctuation and spelling was auto corrected. looking forward to the next post!

  4. Kristin says:

    I love the description of the character traits required in your interns. It is inspiring to me as I work on our family farm!

  5. Erin Herner says:

    I thought the description of character traits was really helpful-I saw it as something to use as way to evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses, that I might not have recognized on my own, and find the areas I need to improve in.

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