Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

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Dairy Australia is working to attract and retain people to the dairy industry.

The dairy industry directly employs over 42,000 people. Attracting people to a career in dairy continues to be a priority, with an additional 800 employees needed on Australian dairy farms by 2023.

The number of farmers employing labour increased by 25 per cent from 2005 to 2017, with 86 per cent of farms now employing labour.

Employment support

The need for skilled labour is increasing with the use of technology, the need to monitor farm inputs, animal care, milk quality, managing environmental credentials, and other aspects of dairy providing opportunities for those interested in agriculture to forge a successful career.

Dairy Australia provides support to farmers employing people on farms by providing access to resources for recruitment, managing staff, and creating awareness of legal requirements.

Employment Starter Kit (ESKi)

The Employment Starter Kit (ESKi) provides electronic and printed resources that farmers need to start employing people and keep up to date with the latest employment requirements.

Over 2,500 have registered to receive these resources.

Access the ESKi resources or order a printed version at The People in Dairy website.

  • Copy Link Case study: Employment and training resources crucial to building a team

    Luke Randle has made the leap into dairy farming and hasn’t looked back.

    The 24-year-old who came into the industry via a high school work experience opportunity said he was enjoying the challenge of managing a young team and was accessing Dairy Australia resources to build his operational and management skills.

    “I lived in town growing up and was always interested in farming, but I didn’t think I would get to a position like I’m in now,” Mr Randle said.

    “I started working on a farm as part of work experience in year 12 and really enjoyed it. I was offered a job at the end of it and it’s all gone from there.”

    Mr Randle manages a team of six people, four full-time and two part-time, on the irrigated 650-cow dairy farm.

    Over the past few years he has focused on building his skills through learning opportunities with GippsDairy.

    “I was aware I hadn’t gone to university for formal education, so I looked for opportunities and I owe a lot to GippsDairy. I’ve done just about every course they’ve run, and I encourage my team to as well.”

    As a manager, Mr Randle said Dairy Australia’s People in Dairy website was particularly useful to access employment resources like the Employment Starter Kit (ESKi) – a program he had also completed training in.

    The ESKi contains the documents and information that farmers need to start employing and managing people, such as a written position description, induction checklist, and employment contract that sets out employee duties, responsibilities and tasks.

    “I’m on the People in Dairy website just about every week. It’s a great resource – whether you are looking at keeping up with pay rates or employment regulations, it’s very useful,” Mr Randle said.

    Mr Randle said everyone in his team is given the opportunity to take on additional training, with a Cups On Cups Off course being the one pre-requisite for prospective employees.

    “The way we look at it is that we want to build people up. We may lose some of these people from our business, but it’s about helping them become better people with more skills and go on to bigger things.”

    Mr Randle said he runs a roster where people have every second weekend off, creating flexibility for employees.

    Daily communication and staff contact are important, with more formal meetings kept to a minimum and a Facebook Messenger group chat used for keeping the team up-to date with daily operations.

    Mr Randle said his unique start into the dairy industry has made him open-minded about who is employed on the farm. All of the current employees do not come from dairy backgrounds and only one is older than him.

    “For me, it’s all about how someone will fit into the team, not their age or if they’ve grown up in the industry. It’s about getting on and working as a team to get the job done.”

    Luke Randle and his farm team

Employment policy and hiring people from overseas

Dairy Australia provides insights and support to ADF and ADPF to engage government around key policy areas that assist with attracting and retaining people to the industry and building skills.

Policy support includes the Dairy Industry Labour Agreement, changes to skilled migration occupation visa lists, and Designated Area Migration Agreements.

For more information on recent employment policy changes, visit The People in Dairy website.


Our Farm, Our Plan

Our Farm, Our Plan is a new program designed to equip farmers to clarify their long term goals, identify the actions needed and to manage uncertainty and risk.

Hay and grain reports

The hay and grain report is commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region. The report is updated 40 weeks per year.

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