Why I chose a career in dairy

Trudy and Matthew Holmes.

By Amy Chamberlain – DairyNZ consulting officer for North and Coastal Canterbury


21 December 2018

When I was younger, I never imagined I would end-up working in the dairy sector.

I grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Cheviot, North Canterbury, and watching my parents breed Hereford cattle I developed a strong interest in genetics and wanted to become a vet.

Dairy farming wasn’t on my radar until I went to Lincoln University to study agricultural science.

While at university, and much to my surprise, the dairy sector was often recommended as a career option. That guidance, coupled with working on some great dairy farms as part of my studies, really opened my eyes to the immense opportunities in the sector.

Now I work at DairyNZ as a consulting officer for North and Coastal Canterbury, and I’m loving it.

Four months into my new role, after previously working for CRV Ambreed, one of the main things that has struck me from my conversations with farmers, aside from how good a season it’s been so far, is how hard it is to find the right staff.

It makes me appreciate the importance of getting more young people, like myself, interested in a career in dairy.

And, from what I’ve seen, I think more are. At the very least, I believe more are becoming aware of the job opportunities both on and off-farm. From my point of view, that’s half the battle. I’m proof it makes a difference. I could’ve quite easily gone off in another direction, but luckily given the right information, at the right time, I found my way towards a career in dairy.

It’s clear educational institutions play a vital role in helping young people decide which career to pursue. DairyNZ recognises this and is doing a number of things to make everyone, from high school students to young adults, aware of the great job opportunities in the dairy sector. This includes helping children visit farms through our Find a Farmer programme, providing dairy-related lesson plans for teachers, and funding scholarships, to name a few.

But once we attract these people to the sector, it’s vital we do everything we can to retain them by providing them with a great place to work, which I’ve seen first-hand that many of you are. I know this is what really sealed the deal for me and has made me proud to be working in the dairy sector.

I spoke to my colleague Jane Muir, DairyNZ’s people team manager, to find out what are some of the key things farmers can do to retain their staff. She says providing competitive wages, good accommodation, rosters that provide work-life balance and training opportunities to allow career progression are all vital.

It really is you, our farmers, that make the dairy sector such a great place to be.

For more information on what you can do to attract and retain staff visit dairynz.co.nz/people.

To find out more about what DairyNZ is doing to attract people to consider a career in dairy visit dairynz.co.nz/careers.

Amy Chamberlain

Media inquiries:

Lee Cowan
Senior Engagement & Communications Manager
Phone 021 930 836

Vanessa Feaver
Senior Communications & Media Specialist
Phone 027 836 6295

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