New campaign brings surge of interest in dairy farming but 1000 jobs still need filling

Entry positions in the industry average $48,000 per annum.
Entry positions in the industry average $48,000 per annum. Photo credit: Getty

A new campaign to train workers affected by COVID-19 in dairy farming, has seen a surge in sign-ups. 

With the calving season fast approaching, the industry has hundreds of jobs that need to be filled.

"Like all successful businesses, dairy farming needs good talent," says Tim Mackle, DairyNZ chief executive.  

"Currently there are 1000 job vacancies on dairy farms nationwide."

He says people left jobless from COVID-19 can earn $50,000 in the industry without any training.

"There are excellent career opportunities in farming from doing the books, to working with machinery, caring for animals, and managing staff. Technology plays a major part in the business too."

Workers from tourism and engineering - and truck drivers - are among those putting their hand up for the career change. 

"While many people might not be familiar with the day-to-day of dairy farming, most have work and life skills that are readily transferable," says Mackle. 

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says the campaign could be win-win for both the dairy industry and those who are considering a career change in the wake of COVID-19.

"We want to continue to connect people with jobs in dairy, and more broadly in the primary industries because we know these sectors will be key to our economic recovery," said O'Connor.

The 2020 GoDairy Campaign was launched on Wednesday by DairyNZ in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for Social Development. It also has support from Federated Farmers.

Participants receive an online introduction before having two-weeks of hands-on training on farms.

Entry positions in the industry average $48,000 per annum, rising to $60,000-$62,000 for herd and assistant manager positions, and $78,000 for farm managers.

Workers are most desperately needed in Waikato, Canterbury, Otago and Southland.

So far more than 200 people have registered interest in the campaign, and although the campaign has only just officially begun training is already underway for 64 people.