2016: who will milk the cows?
The NZ dairy industry has successfully, in the past, provided a pathway to land ownership. This has been mainly via the sharemilking system. The "carrot" or opportunity of land ownership has seen the industry successfully attract and retain motivated people. The average age of the NZ dairy farm owner is at present 50-55 years. Innovation and enthusiasm. from young blood is a prerequisite for any industry to remain vibrant and dynamic. Rural leaders and dairy specialists are now stating that due to the increase in land values, the chance for individuals to own a farm, using the accumulated wealth they have built up while in the industry, is highly unlikely. They speculate that in the future, more people will move into equity type roles, with an increase in off-farm owners. Given this scenario, what then motivates people to enter the dairy industry. To better understand this question, in July 2006 I conducted an independent survey of employees in the dairy industry to establish their current career expectations. How far do they expect to go, and what will keep them motivated? Is farm ownership still their ultimate goal?... [Show full abstract]