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News > How to get (and keep) staff for local dairy farms!


How to get (and keep) staff for local dairy farms!

November 10, 2021

Staffing issues are fast becoming one of the more significant obstacles to progression and development on local dairy farms.  Managing key resources on farm, like farm labour has become central and is now considered a key component to overall farm profitability. Judith McCord, CAFRE Dairying Adviser, says that “growing dairy herd size and/or milk output along with technological advances has increased the demand for a skilled labour force. The availability of workers in combination with a greater emphasis on work life balance has led to a reduction of staff entering the dairy sector, which in turn makes the recruitment process more difficult”.

Judith continues that “when in the recruitment process most local dairy farms have two criteria to fulfil. Firstly they seek well-trained people who understand the complexity involved in milk production, health and welfare of animals, technical efficiency and can put these into practice and secondly they seek staff who can carry out “simple” routine work, such as milking, fencing paddocks or driving tractors”. It is not be easy to find multi-skilled people willing to work long and sometimes difficult hours. There is also the important recognition that in general, staff will not want to work as hard and put in the long hours that the self-employed farmer will do on his/her own farm.

To find out more, CAFRE, Dairy UK and Ulster Farmers’ Union are delivering a webinar on ‘Attracting, training and retaining staff’. Joe Delves a farmer from Sussex will share his experience of creating a good workplace and motivating his farm team. This will be followed by Teagasc researcher, Marion Beecher, who will share the latest findings of what are the key practices and tips to make a labour efficient dairy farm.

Don’t miss this useful event on farm labour. Pre-registration is essential, please register by visiting: