A group of nine students from across the Mid North Coast, three industry mentors and three trainers from North Coast TAFE’s Wauchope Campus returned from a successful New Zealand Dairy Industry study tour last week.
The study tour, sponsored by Mid Coast Connect, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestries and North Coast TAFE, also took in visits to dairies within the Mid Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island, including winners of the prestigious Farmer of the Year Award and Sharefarmer of the Year.
The students were staying at a hotel in Ashburton, when they learned of the extensive damage to the city of Christchurch, approximately 65kms away and immediately began assisting the hotel owners arrange alternative accommodation for stranded tourists.
Fortunately the earthquake only disrupted one event on the itinerary, with the Lincoln University Dairy Farm Focus Day being cancelled. As the group had travelled from Australia, the Farm Manager stepped in and organised a personalised lecture on the latest research and results from grazing techniques research, raising lots of interest from the students.
North Coast TAFE Dairy Co-ordinator, Andrew Collins said, “It was interesting to witness the successful career progression system that New Zealand has for young people in the dairy industry, such as quick progression from a trainee to farm manager, lower order share milker and 50/50 sharemilker. They then have the opportunity to continue on to become equity partners, sometimes in several dairy farming businesses.”
Many of the students were surprised by the age of the professional farmers, often in their late twenties and early thirties and already successfully engaged in large equity positions.
Andrew said, “Our group only experienced a small part of the heartache that New Zealanders are now facing. The damage to Christchurch is massive and our thoughts are certainly with all of the people affected by this enormous tragedy.”
Interested in Diary Production? Check out some of North Coast TAFE's Dairy Production courses or speak to a customer service officer on 1300 6282 33 today.