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Getting started - related articles and blog posts

How does one get started in farming?

It's much easier to get into the farming industry for those people that grew up on a farm - there are so many things that you just seem to pick up naturally by living on a farm.

It's also hard to imagine someone born and bred in the city just deciding one day, "I want to be a farmer", moving to the country and successfully making a go it. Though moving to the country and living on a lifestyle plot isn't so hard to fathom.

So step one for getting started in farming should be to visit farms and talk to people who have lived on a farm to see if you're suited to that type of life. Dairy farming involves a lot of hard work and commitment unless you're in the financial position to be able to take on employees and contractors to handle much of the hard stuff.

Yes, but how do I really get started?

Ok, if you've decided that farming really is for you, then you either need to:

  • start at the bottom with a farm assitant job
  • or, do a farming degree and look for an entry-level advising/managing role
  • or, purchase a small plot if you've got the resources to do so

Either way you really need to get some good farming education these days. A farming degree isn't necessarily required but there are plenty of other good farming certificates that can be done part-time. I enroled for a part-time livestock health course which was excellent value for money and taught me loads of useful information on cow psychology and physiology, and how to detect and deal with common livestock illnesses.

Look out for farm jobs

Look for farm job vacancies in the newspaper or online. The dairy farming season starts on the 1st of June in New Zealand so there will be plenty of farm assistant jobs advertised around that time. Farm management jobs and sharemilking roles are often advertised as early as October for the next season's work starting in June.

Move your way up in farming

Dairy farming careers generally progress along the lines of:

farm assistant > farm manager > sharemilker > farm owner

Not everyone makes it all the way (especially with the current high land prices) and alternative routes are definitely possible.

Are you ready to give farming a go?

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