Dairy farmers share solutions to attracting and keeping staffd

8 April 2022

Insights into a significant challenge dairy farmers currently face – how to attract and retain great farm staff in a difficult labour market – will be shared by farmers and an HR specialist at a DairyNZ webinar on April 20.

Bay of Plenty contract milker and former DairyNZ consultant, Jordyn Crouch, is one of four guest speakers who will discuss how New Zealand can design dairy workplaces to attract great employees.

Kellogg Rural Leadership project interviews with leading farmers led Jordyn to identify four ways dairy workplaces could become more attractive – flexible rosters and pay scales; fostering leaders not managers; developing safe workplace cultures that allow autonomy and innovation; and sharing a common purpose on-farm.

“Involving your farm team is the starting point to improve your workplace,” Jordyn says.

“Ask them how you could improve your leadership style, identify common aims your farm team share and for their ideas on changes to make your farm operate better. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and see if they suit your farm.”

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle, who is speaking at the webinar, says dairy is experiencing a significant workforce shortage and many farmers are looking at how to recruit the right staff in time for calving.

“We’re excited to have farmers share how they are making workplaces more appealing to current and future employees, and what they’re doing to look after their teams. We know that the workforce shortage is putting significant pressure both on-farm teams and on farmers trying to recruit new staff.”

Three other guest speakers will discuss ways to reshape farm workplaces into better working environments.

Canterbury dairy farmer John Totty will talk about how his farm’s participation in DairyNZ’s flexible milking project has changed life for his team, while maintaining good milk production.

Owl Farm Demonstration Manager, Jo Sheridan, will discuss how technology and innovation are being used to reduce pressure on their farm.
Experienced rural recruitment specialist and No8 HR director, Lee Astridge, will also share her recruitment knowledge, and how farmers are developing and supporting their workers.

Lee’s recent DairyNZ podcast on ‘Recruiting great dairy workers’ includes some fresh ideas on how to advertise and recruit dairy workers. The podcast is available online at dairynz.co.nz/podcast

DairyNZ will also share the work it has underway to respond to the current dairy sector workforce shortage, including the Go Dairy campaign, continuing to strongly advocate for more international workers to be able to enter New Zealand, and developing a dairy workforce resilience plan.

The dairy sector currently employs around 37,000 on-farm workers and is estimated to have a workforce shortage of up to 4,000 staff.

About the webinar
The DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum webinar on ‘Attracting and looking after great people’ is on at 7-8pm Wednesday, April 20.

Farmers can register for the free webinar at www.dairynz.co.nz/ffseries. The webinar recording and other Farmers’ Forum webinars will also be available to download via the webpage.

Kellogg scholar and Bay of Plenty contract milker Jordyn Crouch.

Owl Farm Demonstration Manager Jo Sheridan.

Media contact

Allanah Jarman
Senior Media Specialist
021 240 6614
ali.tocker@dairynz.co.nz