The Join Us campaign is fronted by Eastern Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Shannon Munro, who has been dairy farming for about 10 years.
With her husband and three children, Munro says they opted to move away from urban city life to provide a different upbringing for her young family.
Her husband Steve was a builder and after the birth of their first son, she says they agreed that a city lifestyle wasn’t what they wanted for their family.
They moved from Te Puke to Ngakuru, a rural community in Rotorua Lakes, where Steve found a job as a farm assistant. With her son in tow, Shannon helped with calving and rearing the calves.
Over the next decade as their family expanded, they progressed into farm manager and 2IC roles, and then into contract milking, moving around the country as opportunities came up, including farming in Canterbury and the Waikato.
“We are now about 30 minutes from Whakatāne and are in our first year leasing a 66 ha dairy block, which was previously leased by Steve’s parents. We bought their 170 herd as they purchased a dairy farm.”
Shannon says their three kids, aged between 3 and 11, love being on the farm, riding motorbikes and being hands-on. They especially enjoy making huts in the bush and staying at the family’s glamping spot next to the creek.
“The kids can enjoy a lot of freedom on the farm. At the same time, they have lots to keep them busy and they’re learning life skills they may not have otherwise learned in the city,” she says.
The family is planning to stay on their farm for the next few years, but ultimately want to own their own small farm.
Shannon says that as a young, Māori woman she is proud to be presenting a different face to dairy farming and to be associated with the campaign to show people what dairy farming has to offer as a career.
“Dairy farming offers really great opportunities and a great lifestyle. There are lots of opportunities for people to progress quickly and it’s very rewarding.”