"These latest findings point to a number of farmers still not meeting the minimum requirements. That’s disappointing because we’ve been doing a lot of work with our farmers in this area. Employment conditions on dairy farms are critical to attracting and retaining talented people. It is a key objective in our dairy industry strategy," he says.
"Many farmers are making progress. While these latest results are largely from visits to a group of farmers where there were existing employment compliance concerns, they are a stern reminder that we still have a way to go before minimum standards are achieved across the entire sector."
Mark says the dairy industry has made it a high priority to ensure that farm staff experience a safe and supportive work environment.
"Farmers have to step up and get it right with us. As an industry body we are here to support them with advice, information, tools and resources. If there is any confusion about what they need to do, we'd encourage them to contact us or Federated Farmers or visit our websites. There’s a wealth of online information available including ready-made templates that can make it easy for them.
"We are also currently working with Federated Farmers and other industry stakeholders to develop a Quality Workplace Accord that will further strengthen our commitment to making sure we lift our performance. We want to give farmers all the support and advice we can for managing and employing staff well."
Mark says DairyNZ has been working to lift performance with key initiatives including training workshops and developing extensive online farmer advice and resources. "We’re now moving to a much more specific focus on some key compliance areas including employment agreements, hours of work records and holiday entitlements."
DairyNZ is looking at a tool customised for farmers that will help them design rosters to provide balanced and productive work time for everyone. Support will also focus on health and safety practices.
"Attracting and retaining talented people on our dairy farms is vital for the future of our industry," says Mark. "We are fully committed to that goal because we know many other industries are also competing for staff. We have to be competitive not just as exporters in a global marketplace, but also in terms of the international competition for people."
Marketing Manager - People and Business
Tel 021 228 2517