AN EXTRA 800 skilled employees will be needed on Australian dairy farms within the next five years, according to Dairy Australia.
This statistic is in-line with an increase in farms with six or more employees across the industry from 4 per cent to 20pc by 2025.
Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said attracting and retaining people on dairy farms was an ongoing challenge.
"The evolution of the industry and the trend towards larger farms places greater demand on labour, but also provides opportunities for those interested in agriculture to forge a successful career," he said.
"The need for skilled labour is also increasing with the use of technology, the need to monitor farm inputs, animal care, milk quality, managing environmental credentials, and other aspects of dairy."
This issue was highlighted during recent consultations for the Australian Dairy Plan, which will set in place a five-year strategic plan for the industry.
Dr Nation said starting the conversation about careers in dairy when young people were starting to think about their future while at school was absolutely key.
"Schools programs such as Dairy Australia's Cows Create Careers has seen more than 15,000 young people in regional locations learn more about what a career in dairy can offer," he said.
"It's important that we show the diversity of career pathways and highlight the opportunity to be successful working in dairy."
Dr Nation said the industry had partnered with Tafe and other registered training providers to develop courses to help those interested in a career in dairy to build their skills.
"Whether its education on milking, farm systems, animal care or farm management, ensuring education providers are armed with the right resources to support people starting a career or advancing skills for those already in dairy, is really important," he said.
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He said ensuring young people feel connected and supported through strong networks and skills building, was key to retention.
"Over 2500 young people have been able to connect through the DA Young Dairy Network, providing access to training for both the technical and non-technical aspects of dairy," he said.
"People are at the heart of our industry and are what make the industry a great one - attracting people to the industry by presenting the many career pathways and providing opportunity to build skills, is a continued priority."
For those interested in a career in dairy and for resources to support farmers in recruiting and retaining people on farms visit thepeopleindairy.org.au.
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