Article by: Hari Yellina
High start-up expenses are deterring the next era of dairy farmers away from the business. This has been determined according to young people across the south-west, but one initiative aims to change that. Hamish Wortley, 19, is in charge of 750 Friesian cows on his family’s 50-stand rotary near Macarthur. He stated that following a period of further study, he intended to become a career farmer, but that this would be a challenging road for individuals without prior experience in the field or financial backing. “The financial factors are quite difficult, and the fact that land prices have doubled in the previous three years adds to the problem,” he said.
“Having a family farm history makes it easier to break into the industry.” “Right now, the greatest challenge would be the start-up fees – it’s just really difficult for someone to enter the sector without financial help.” This is true of all farming, not just the dairy industry. Mr Wortley was one of 16 young dairy farmers who took part in Fonterra’s Proud to be a Dairy Farmer initiative. By introducing young, talented people to upcoming technology and occupations, the initiative hopes to address the difficulty of retaining young, talented people in dairy farming. “The program’s main focus was on young people, most likely young people wishing to enter into the sector, and assisting them in progressing to having their own herd and ranch.”
Billy Buckingham, a 25-year-old Scott’s Creek resident who works on a 400-cow dairy farm in a 50-unit rotary dairy, was another participant. He stated that he was drawn to the industry for a number of reasons. He said, “You’re pretty much your own boss.” “It’s just you and the cows, and it’s a great way to unwind – there’s always something to do.” “I liked the presentation because I learnt about robot dairies, something I had heard about but had never seen.” The motivational speakers and insights into various farming techniques were also very engaging.” However, he admitted that it was a difficult market for novices.