Take Time Before You Sign workshops kicked off in Waikato and Taranaki over the last week and will continue this month with events in Timaru on November 22 and Winton on November 23.
DairyNZ project lead Angie Fisher says the events provide information to farmers looking at entering sharemilking and contract milking agreements for next season, or wanting to improve current relationships.
“There were 3570 sharemilkers, both herd owning and variable order, and over 1000 contract milkers in 2015-16. Alongside the farm owners they work with, this is a substantial group of farmers,” says Angie.
“Farmers at the Matamata and Hawera workshops signalled that they treat sharemilking agreements as a business-to-business partnership. Both parties are highly engaged with current issues and willing to share their knowledge, experience and solutions.”
Richard McIntyre and Tony Wilding, the chairs of Federated Farmers’ sharemilking sections, are bringing substantial farm owner and sharemilking experience to the workshops, both as speakers and in developing the event material.
“Their contribution has been vital and we are excited to meet with more farmers in Timaru and Winton this month and find out how people are working together for shared success,” says Angie.
“There is a lot to consider when entering a sharemilking arrangement – it helps to have a systematic approach to ensure all aspects of entering into an agreement are covered before anything is signed and that you are familiar with resources and key people in your region.
“It is important to get the right fit between sharemilkers and farm owners. Going in with your eyes wide open and understanding your responsibilities clearly will help improve the outcome for everyone.”
David Hosking, a farm owner from Te Kauwhata in the Waikato, has acted as a short-term mentor through DairyNZ’s Dairy Connect in matters relating to contract understanding and disputes. He believes good advice is essential.
“If farmers are new to agreements, particularly those moving from a salary to sharemilking or contract milking, they need to be prepared. Becoming self-employed means taking on extra responsibility such as GST, ACC, income tax and health and safety, and it’s important to get good advice,” says David.
“There are a number of employment agreements that farmers can access, for example Federated Farmers have contracts that are updated regularly based on farmer feedback and any changes in the industry.”
For more information on the events visit dairynz.co.nz/sharemilking.
DairyNZ communications and marketing advisor
021 703 068