Building great workplaces

We will build great workplaces for New Zealand’s most talented workforce

We will achieve this commitment by building a strong culture that values people and creates vibrant teams. This involves:

  • making it a priority that all our people are healthy, well and get home safe every day.
  • making dairy farming an inspiring profession that offers great career options for our people.
  • improving our on-farm workplaces through implementing a Workplace Action Plan committed to a work-life balance that improves business performance while rewarding the individual.
  • working with other primary sectors and education institutions to build integrated pathways that bring people into dairy careers with the skills and training needed for tomorrow’s food and farming sector.


  • By 2025, ensure all farm businesses have best employment practices and quality work environments operated by vibrant and proficient farm teams.
  • By 2020, implement people initiatives to inspire, attract, grow and retain dairy talent.
  • Ensure everyone gets home safe and well every day.
  • By 2020, implement new programmes to support and integrate new entrants into the sector and our rural communities.
  • By 2020, implement programmes to build and sustain our governance and management skills-base through diversity and leadership.

What have we achieved?


Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme

Federated Farmers have been working with Primary ITO on attracting and training people for dairy farming careers.  This has resulted in Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme, launched in October last year, which provides a formal training and support programme to attract motivated and bright New Zealanders into dairy farming careers.  65 apprentices are currently enrolled.  For more information, click here.

Career Changers

DairyNZ have been working with Primary Industries Capability Alliance (PICA) on understanding where the dairy workforce comes from to allow us to better target and provide support.  This has resulted in Career Changer Research, which provides insights to help us design and build support programs to attract and support new entrants to the dairy sector.

What are we working on?


Workforce Supply

DairyNZ is working on understanding workforce supply starting in the Canterbury, Otago and Southland Regions. These regions have lower unemployment rates and a larger migrant workforce than others across the country.  This will result in a farmer view of workforce constraints in Southland and Canterbury, which will provide benchmark information to enable more targeted initiatives to respond to workforce demands.

DairyNZ is working with Primary ITO on the skill needs of the sector: on farms, in support roles, and in science to ensure farm businesses are competitive and resilient.  This will define status of the skills base relative to the dairy industry standardised roles, which will provide the basis for further targeted investment in skills development.

Workplace Improvement

We are refreshing the Workplace Action Plan, which will provide for targeted extension activities to support farmers to work towards the Dairy Tomorrow Goal of providing great workplaces for NZs most talented workforce.

Payroll Essentials for Employers and Employees

Dairy Women’s Network will be delivering workshops with Paysauce in the first quarter of 2019 providing employers and employees practical payroll knowledge and legal requirements. The workshops will explain Payday filing and what this means and other tax changes coming from 1 April 2019.  Payroll can be complex so this workshop will provide clear guidance and understanding for all. 

Farm Accommodation

The Farm Accommodation module will cover the compliance requirements for farm owners, employers, and employees of the Residential Tenancy Act.  This includes legislation that requires all rental accommodation is insulated and has working smoke alarms installed by July 2019.

This will demystify the confusion over what is required with the provision of farm accommodation to employees. It will also cover of basics of a healthy home, in line with the proposed requirements of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act.  This module is being developed and delivered in collaboration with key industry stakeholders, including DairyNZ and Federated Farmers, professional service providers, and DWN farming members. 

Focus Groups – New Entrants, Migrant Workers, and Career Changers

To support the Dairy Tomorrow targets and gain greater insights from new entrants into the dairy sector, Dairy Women’s Network will be hosting three focus group discussions in 2019.  The focus groups will help us understand how we support, nurture and help with the learning journey from those entering the sector and those who are already established.

Health and Safety

DairyNZ are working with WorkSafe on reducing injuries.  Most dairy farm injuries occur when handling animals, especially associated with milking.  This first phase study will result in information on the factors that leads to injuries so that preventative actions can be developed and implemented, which will provide a safer work environment for people working on dairy farms.

Explore our commitments