Plan next season’s recruitment now to avoid unnecessary headaches

Dairy farmers taking on new sharemilkers or contract milkers next season should be planning recruitment now, as the industry continues to face staff shortages with competition high among employers.

Perrin Ag senior consultant Mark Williams says in his experience many dairy farmers don’t plan their recruitment well and end up rushing the process. That can spell trouble down the track.

“If you know you will be recruiting for the 2022/23 season, you should be spending time now getting your ducks in a row and planning before Christmas. Then you can hit the ground running with advertising early in the New Year.

“Give yourself the best chance of catching the highest caliber candidates, who will already be making plans. If you leave it too late, you’ll hurriedly place an ad and find yourself interviewing people with scraps of paper and then wonder why it doesn’t work out.”

Mark encourages farm owners to do their homework before they even put together a job ad or choose where to advertise.

How do you farm & why?

Consider your farm system and farming goals. Then develop a sharemilking or contract milking agreement that will help achieve those goals. This will tell you a lot about the type of person you’re looking for.  

“Most job ads provide detail about physical things like farm size, cow numbers and shed set-up,” says Mark. “But often they can be vague or there is not enough information about the type of operation being run and the farm owner’s values. Make it clear what you do and why do you do it.

“When your new person starts, they’ll know there’s no point asking for PKE, maize or 190 units of nitrogen because it doesn’t fit with your farming system or philosophy.”

While it’s important to stand out from the rest, don’t overpromise. Mark has seen many ads that talk up the job to the extent where it’s almost too good to be true.

“There is no farm that is as good as some of the ads I’ve read,” he says. “This can lead to a misalignment in expectations between employers and employees.”

Know your numbers

Mark also stresses the importance of budgets.

“Doing full budgets might mean you end up recruiting for a contract milker instead of a sharemilker because the numbers don’t stack up.

“The opportunity you are offering needs to be profitable for both parties, especially with rising farm costs.”

Tailor your agreement

Employment contracts should be tailored to your specific operation and have an annual business plan, farm policy and review process built in as an appendix.

“It‘s too easy to copy and paste standard industry agreements,” says Mark. “They are great as a starting point, but they don’t cover the nuances of specific operations. Often people fill in the bare minimum by ticking the boxes because they hate the process. But then issues arise because you’ve got no farm policies, nothing is written down, it’s too vague or simply says ‘as required’ next to areas such as imported supplements.

“That’s when conflict arises because the sharemilker feels like the owner is dictating to them. Too many times, the farm policy is communicated verbally as the season progresses. You don’t want to get to the 30th September and then have a conversation about how mating is going to work.”

Once you’ve done your homework, Mark suggests FarmSource and SEEK as the best places to advertise. And don’t forget to tap into your personal and rural professional networks for recommendations.

Plan your interview process

Having a plan for tackling the interview process will help you assess each candidate in a consistent way so you can compare apples with apples.

“Conducting phone interviews with your shortlist can help you identify 3-4 you think are worthy of an interview in person. Have consistent questions for each one and a scorecard for marking them,” says Mark.

Give candidates had a copy of any contract or appendices well before the interview to help them get a clear picture of the job being offered, remove any ambiguity and help them make an informed decision.

“Don’t be scared to bombard them with paperwork. If I was a contact milker going for an interview, it would be a positive sign that the farm owner is a good operator.

“Then the interview is about seeing how well they’ve digested that information and getting their thoughts on how they will farm within those policies and within that budget.”

Check references thoroughly

Once you’ve chosen your preferred candidate, checking references is essential. Make sure they have provided at least one recent employer in their reference list.

“If they can’t do that, or if you suspect their references are friends or colleagues from previous jobs, alarm bells should ring.”

The people you have looking after your farm will make or break your business. Finding a sharemilker or contract milker that’s the right fit is a challenging and competitive business. While getting your recruitment process right takes time and effort, it is an investment that will pay dividends.



Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

"E aroha ana ahau ki te whakamana i ngā tāngata i o mātau wāhanga tuatahi me te ngahau o te kite i ngā kiritaki e tutuki ana i a rātau hiahiatanga. Mēnā ka taea e tātau te whakahauhau i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whakauru ki o rātau kiritaki, kia nui ake te whakauru hohe ki a rātau mekameka putanga me te tirotiro i a rātau umanga mā tētahi arotahi whānui ake, kātahi ka whakaaro ahau he nui ake te wā e heke mai ana a tātau mahi."

Mikaera Booth

Mātanga Hāpai

B.Com Af (FM)

Ka kawea mai e Maika he taonga o nga pūnaha hangarau me nga pūnaha miraka kau ki Perrin Ag. I muri iho i tana mākatanga ki tētahi Bachelor of AgriCommerce mai i Massey, ka tīmataria e ia tana mahi ki a DairyNZ hei āpiha kōrero i reira i whakahaere ai ia i ngā rōpū kōrero, a, ka whakahaere i te whakahaere pāmu.

I mahue i a ia a DairyNZ ki te haere i te ao, engari i roto i ētahi marama ka patua e Covid, ka kati nga taitapa, a, ka hoki mai a Maika raua ko tana wahine ko Nikita ki te kāinga. I muri i Aotearoa, ka tangohia e ia he tūranga whakahaere i nga pāmu kaupane a DairyNZ i runga i nga Hauraki Plains i mua i tana uru ki Halter.

I muri i tana whakaotinga i tana OE, ka hoki mai a ia ki te kāinga kia noho i Papamoa, a, ka uru ki te tīma Perrin Ag i te wā o Hui tanguru 2024.

"Ehara ahau i te tangata e hiahia ana ki te noho tonu, ā, e hiahia ana ahau ki te ako tonu. I kite ahau i tētahi wā me Perrin Ag. He umanga a rātau kaupapa mo te whakapai haere tonu me te akoranga. I ngā wā katoa he huarahi hōu, pai ake hoki te mahi i ngā mea, ā, me noho tātau ki te aronga o tērā mō ā mātou kiritaki."

Abbey Dowd

Kaiwhakahaere

B.Ag.Sc (Hons), MNZIPIM

I uru a Abbey ki Perrin Ag i te wā o Hui 2023 hei wāhanga o te hōtaka tono mātauranga o te umanga, o Empower.

I tipu ake a Abbey e karapotitia ana e nga pāmu miraka kau i roto i tētahi iwi tata i Waikato ki te Tonga. I kite a ia i te tuatahi me pēhea te tautoko a nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe i tōna iwi, koia ia i whakaawe ai i a ia ki te ako i te Whare Wānanga o Lincoln.

I nga wā katoa e mīharo ana te tipu ake i roto i tētahi iwi ā-taiwhenua o Abbey i nga wā katoa e hia nga kaiahuwhenua o te rohe e āwhina ana ki te iwi. I pīrangi a ia ki te āwhina ki te whakahoki ki te umanga me te tākaro i tētahi wāhanga ki te āwhina i to mātau wāhanga tuatahi kia whakaputa tonu i te kai kounga i runga i te āhua mārō.

I te tau 2022, i pau i a Abbey te raumati hai takawaenga i runga i tētahi o nga mahi miraka tauhokohoko tuatahi a Aotearoa. Ko tana kaupapa Honours e rangahau ana i te miraka deer i te taha o ētahi atu mahi miraka tūturu ake, me te arotake i ngā āheinga whakanao o te umanga miraka.

"I te tipu ake kaore ahau i noho i runga pāmu, engari i mōhio tonu ahau e hiahia ana ahau ki te mahi i te wāhanga pāmu. I pīrangi ahau ki tētahi tūranga i reira he toenga i waenganui i te mahi me te pāmu, ā, ka taea e au te tautoko i nga kaiahuwhenua kia whiwhi ai i te pai rawa atu i a rātau umanga."

Sam Gray

Kaiwhakahaere

I tipu ake a Sam i runga i te pāmu miraka kau i te Raki Tawhiti. I muri iho i tana whiwhinga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Otago i te tau 2005 me tētahi tohu Honours i roto i te hangarau hangarau rāpoi ngota, he maha nga tau e mahi ana a ia i roto i te rangahau rongoā i Aotearoa me Pākehā. I a ia e hoki ana ki Aotearoa i te tau 2012, e whā nga wā i pau ai i a ia te pāmu miraka kau i Te Whenua o Raki i mua i tana hokonga i tētahi paraka 56 ha i Taupо, i reira ia i kitea tuatahitia ai ki te pāmu i raro i te pū hauota. I uru a Sam ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2023, ā, ka mauria mai ōna pūkenga kaha e whakatūria ana e tētahi huarahi hāngai ki te whakaoti raruraru. I waho o te mahi pāmu me te tohutohu, tērā pea ka kitea e koe e rere ana a ia i te hī ika, te whaiwhai, te papa huka rānei.

"He tokomaha nga kaiahuwhenua e rongo ana i te uaua i mua i te huringa tere o te whenua mana. E tautohe ana ahau ki te āwhina i nga kaiahuwhenua kia mārama he aha te tikanga o ēnei ture taiao mo a rātau umanga, me te tuku rongoā māia e āhei ai rātau ki te mahi tonu i ā rātou mahi tino pai, i a rātau e noho tautuku tonu ana".

Danni Armstrong

Kaiwhakahaere pūtea

Pakeketia a Danni i te pāmu kau i Atiamuri ka noho hoki mō te rima tau hai pou hāpai kūtētē kau. He ahakoa tana mahi pāmu ehara i te mea ka noho motuhake ki tēnei mahi, ka aro atu hoki ki te rīhi motukā, ki te hauora me te mahi moana. He kaha tana aronga ki ngā take whakahaere me te tiaki moni, mātua ko te manaaki me te atawhai i ngā tini manuhiri ka whakatata mai, ka rua ko te tiaki i te taha ki te ao hangarau pēnā me ngā whārangi pāpāoho ki te ao hou ko te whakahaere tuku motukā, ā, tae rawa ki ngā kaupapa ako, te whakarite rōhi -a-mahi, H&S me te whakatika hapa. I whakapiri mai a Danni ki a Ag i te marama o Mei 2021, he ahakoa he tauhou he mātanga ki tōna ao pākihi koi i tāhuri mai ia ki tēnei whānau.

He wahine pānui pukapuka me ōna ngeru, he wahine takahi whenua haere ngāhere.

“I runga i ngā tini kaupapa whakawetewete, ara ake ai ahau ia rā ia rā – kāre i tua atu i te whakamutunga o aku mahi tatau kia ea ai– e whai tūranga mana ai taku tu ngātahi me tēnei tīma”.

Duncan Walker

Tumuaki
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc, MNZIPIM (Reg)

I te haerenga mai i tētahi papamuri pāmu maroke me te miraka kau, i nga wā katoa e hiahia ana a Duncan ki te tipu i nga umanga o te wāhanga tuatahi. Ahakoa he pāmu tawhito, he ngahere, he pūtea penapena rānei i waho o te kēti pāmu, ko te mahinga pakihi tūturu ko te hiahia o Duncan. I muri i te mākatanga mai i te Whare Wānanga o Massey me tētahi Bachelor of Applied Science i Agribusiness, ko te wā tuatahi o Duncan ki te arotau i tētahi umanga pāmu mā te mahi i tētahi tahuringa miraka kau. Na te kaupapa Duncan i whakahaere te tahuringa, a, ka haere tonu te whakahaere i te pāmu miraka kau mo te toru tau anō.

Mai i te hononga atu ki Perrin Ag i te tau 2011 ka mahi a Duncan me te whānui o ngā kiritaki tae atu ki ērā 'i waho o te kēti pāmu'. Mā tōna papamuri kaha i roto i te tātari pūtea penapena, te rautaki pakihi me te whakahaere kaupapa, kei te nui haere te mahi a Duncan me ngā kiritaki ki te tātari me te whakauru i ngā pūtea whenua me ngā pūtea rākau ki roto i ā rātou umanga pāmu.

“Ko te hāpai o ōku hoa me te arataki i a rātou me ngā kōpikopikonga huhua o te ao hou taku oranga ngakau. Kia tū rangatira ai rātou, he aha i tua atu!”

Lee Matheson

Tumuaki Whakahaere
Kaiwhakahaere Matua

B.Appl.Sc (Hons), FNZIPIM (Reg)

Nā tana whakapakeketanga i Pōneke i haere mai ai a Lee ki tana mahi nei. He Tāhū Paetahi Pūtaiao Otaota, ā, he mātanga hoki a Lee ki te tāhua mākete. Nā tana tūranga Pouwhakahaere e kore e kaha a Lee ki te puta ki ngā pāmu, heoi anō ki te puta atu ia ki waho, ka hākoakoa katoa ngā koko o tōna ngākau. He ahakoa kai te tari e mahi ana a Lee ināianei, kai konei tonu ia e kaha ana ki te tohutohu ki te arahi ki te tuku i ana matauranga rautaki a pāmu , ona whakaaro auaha, ana matauranga a Kāwanatanga, te mātai whakangao me te rangahau ohaoha ki ngā taringa pakiki.

A waho atu i a Perrin Ag, he tangata aroha ki te whakaako whutupōro, te mātakitaki i ana tokotoru e pakeke tupu ana me te ngaki māra tahi me tana hoa rangatira a Haidee.

“Kai reira kē te ihi o taku mahi, ko te whakarangatira i ngā tangata mahi tahi pēnei i a tatou me te whakaputanga o ngā apataki ki te ao marama i runga i ngā whakatutukitanga a wō rātou tumanako-ā-ngākau. Mēnā tatou e tāea ki te whakaakiaki i ngā tangata pāmū ki te hono ki wō rātou kiritaki, me te ū a ringa raupā nei ki te ara whakaputa, me te titiro whānui ki tā rātou pākihi , ka harikoa katoa ahau i te mōhiotanga he ao ki tua mō tēnei tūmomo mahi”.