This hands on entry level job is the first step in a dairy farming career. You will gain practical, hands on experience in all aspects of day to day farming. This will include all sorts of tasks including milking and feeding cows along with operating machinery and carrying out general maintenance work.
On larger farms you will work as part of a team, while on smaller farms you will often work directly alongside the farm owner. In both cases you will be under direct supervision while you develop your skills and gain experience and responsibility.
Working as a farm assistant provides an excellent opportunity to be exposed to most tasks conducted on farm.
Is it for me?
Working as a farm assistant would suit someone who enjoys working outside, likes animals, and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty or sometimes working long or irregular hours.
How to get there:
Useful subjects to take at school are: agriculture, horticulture, workshop technology, maths, English and science.
No previous experience is required. Employers are looking for ideal personal qualities; commitment to learning, can do attitude, team player and honesty. It can be beneficial to hold a National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2 / 3
Farm Assistants will often start around 5am in the morning and work through to late afternoon or evening, but with an hour or so for breakfast and lunch; these hours may change depending on the season. Farm Assistants will often be required to work in the weekends.
Chances of employment:
The number of dairy farms in New Zealand has increased a lot over the last 10 years. This means that there are good opportunities for employment.
Farm Assistants will generally earn an average salary of $40,000; which may include a benefits package which could include housing, some meals or even power.