Farm Employer Education & Legal Defense Service (FEELDS)
Oregon Farm Bureau’s Farm Employer Education & Legal Defense Service (FEELDS) is a two-part member-service program for Oregon Farm Bureau voting/supporting members. For only $85 per month, FEELDS helps agricultural employers keep up with frequently changing state and federal regulations and tricky employment situations through education and legal defense.
The FEELDS program was created in 2001 for the purpose of helping farmers or producers stay up-to-date and compliant with the changes in employment related rules. There was no single resource for growers to turn to for help to understand what was required from agencies (federal and state) concerning their employees, and how to comply with those new or changed rules. Sure, farmers could contact each separate agency or decipher the administrative rules themselves, but they wouldn’t be left with much time to farm. Oregon Farm Bureau decided to meet this need through the FEELDS program. The focus of FEELDS is to make sure its member farms have the information and help necessary to comply with the rules and still have time to farm. FEELDS helps farm owners understand important changes in wage & hour rules, safety rules, and immigration rules (as they are ever changing) and helps farms with compliance so they can be successful during unexpected audits or problem lawsuits. We believe such compliance strategies helps employees lean toward being a successful and happy employee. FEELDS members are agricultural businesses who strive to do the right thing and who strive for their employees to succeed.
FEELDS members receive access to informative (free) monthly HR training webinars, hot-line access for immediate answers to employee-related problems or questions, employee handbook development in English and Spanish, and important email alerts about hot topic issues from the legislature or federal or state bureaucracy. It’s really a fabulous and helpful program for the Oregon agricultural community.
A FEELDS membership offers access to Program Director, Roberta Gruber, who has worked exclusively with agricultural employers on employment issues since 1991. As a FEELDS member, Roberta helps you with your employee-related concerns and helps you put practical and effective solutions to work that saves you money and avoids future problems. She frequently teaches and coaches agricultural employers how to properly manage the employee-employer relationship through all its phases: pre-hiring to termination. She has decades of agricultural HR consulting experience, is professionally certified through SHRM, and has a B.S. degree from Linfield College in Behavioral Sciences, emphasizing HR.
FEELDS members may ask questions (via text, email, phone call) and receive immediate expert answers.
FEELDS members receive hands-on assistance to comply with ever-changing federal and state rules, as well as with help managing problem employee situations.
FEELDS holds free update meetings for members, as well as free monthly HR training webinars.
FEELDS creates employee handbooks and company policies as requested.
Employer Legal Defense
Another valuable service is the FEELDS program Legal Defense Service. Should your farm receive a demand letter or a notice from an attorney representing a current or former employee about an employment-related issue, the FEELDS program provides the farm with an attorney (who is a partner in the law firm) experienced in agricultural employment practices to defend you, and the FEELDS program pays up to $18,750 of the attorney’s billable hours, the first $10K of which is provided free with the FEELDS membership.