Dairy Australia and Marcus Oldham College have launched a new dairy leadership program to develop the next generation of industry leaders.
The program will work as part of the college’s Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) course to teach specific business management skills relevant to the dairy sector.
Available to both existing and new students, the course will engage students through an 11-month on-farm placement, with two years of formal study at Marcus Oldham College based at Geelong.
As well as developing hands-on experience, the on-farm placement will allow students to benefit from working with experienced dairy sector representatives including farm managers and service providers, while experiencing real-life farm management scenarios.
The syllabus includes a mix of in-person and technology-enabled learning, attending business management workshops, farm visits and work placements as well as attending the Australian Dairy Conference.
“We are delighted to partner with Dairy Australia in helping educate the next generation of dairy industry leaders,” Marcus Oldham College principal Simon Livingstone said.
“This important partnership is testament to Dairy Australia’s commitment to developing strong education opportunities for the industry,” Dr Livingstone said.
“Marcus Oldham’s programs will provide the level of educational outcomes that the industry needs to ensure the next generation of farmers drive productivity in the dairy industry.”
New Strategy for an Emerging Problem
The development of the program responds to a key issue threatening the future of the dairy industry, given the future shortage of workers. Dairy Australia predicts that an additional 800 skilled workers will be needed by 2023, in order to maintain productivity levels.
“The evolution of the industry and the trend towards larger farms places greater demand on labour, but also provides opportunities for those interested in agriculture to forge a successful career,” said Dr David Nation, Dairy Australia Managing Director.
“The need for skilled labour is also increasing with the use of technology, the need to monitor farm inputs, animal care, milk quality, managing environmental credentials, and other aspects of dairy.”
Data released by Dairy Australia shows that in 2016-17 there were 42,000 people directly employed in the dairy section, with 86 per cent of farmers employing additional labour – an increase of 20 per cent since 2014.
The shortage of labour is already causing concern for farmers, with many struggling to attract and retain good workers.
At Wokalup, south of Harvey in WA, fourth generation dairy farmer Phil Hall has given up trying to find the right people for his business.
“We milk every 12 hours. We get up at 3am and start milking before milking again at 3pm,” Mr Hall said.
“We’ve had a lot of past employees say ‘We are not getting up at that time’.”
Previously, Mr Hall – who farms with his wife Sue and son Travis – employed two additional workers to help with dairy operations.
If you own or manage a dairy enterprise and you’re struggling to find staff, the Lucas Group can help. Give one of our experienced consultants a call on 08 8201 9999.