OPINION: The statistics speak for themselves; the dairy industry remains the country’s star performer.
DairyNZ chairman John Luxton says one aim of the industry's 10-year strategy is to see 90% of dairy farm businesses having quality work environments by 2020.
The new Sustainable Dairying: Workplace Action Plan is a joint campaign by Ministry of Primary Industries, Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.
Luxton says the components of this new plan should ensure the strategy works.
"We are competing with all the other career opportunities on offer across the globe. We're not always the most attractive choice for many young people these days and we need to be if we want to develop and retain the workforce we need," he says.
The new plan proposes five aspects of good people management: balanced and productive work time, fair remuneration and wellness, wellbeing and health and safety. Key expectations are that the industry will improve its record in health and safety and that all businesses will meet legal and employment requirements.
A dairy employee guide has been produced and measures are in place to track the industry's progress against the plan.
Federated Farmers dairy chair Andrew Hoggard says the quality of the work environment a farmer provides is central to attracting and retaining staff.
"Most dairy farm businesses have positive workplaces because farmers see the benefits for everyone if they can get and keep good staff. This is why DairyNZ and Federated Farmers have worked together on this plan.
"We recognise... practice is not uniform across all businesses and that parts of our industry need to lift their performance to make dairy farming more attractive to a greater number of employees," Hoggard says.
"A good work environment does not stop with just doing the minimum.
"We're encouraging farmers to go from good to great as employers and we're supporting them with tips, tools and resources to make it easier."
For a copy of the Sustainable Dairying: Workplace Action Plan including the guides for dairy farms and dairy employees go to: www.dairynz.co.nz/wap