Sharing on dairying
Talking it over with someone who’s been there, done that, is at the heart of a new initiative for Waikato dairy farmers.
Dairy Connect, developed by industry organisation DairyNZ, was launched in late 2011 to help farmers learn from each other through sharing information and experiences, one on one.
Dairy Connect coordinator Janine Broekhuizen said people were more likely to try a new initiative or successfully troubleshoot a problem if they had talked it over with someone who had been there before.
‘‘It helps farmers make good, well-informed farming or business decisions,’’ she said.
She referred to Matamata farmer Ralph Gore who said it was great to talk to someone ‘‘at the coal face’’.
Mr Gore was relatively new to dairy farming and said he had ‘‘struck gold’’ with his Dairy Connect partnership, which gave him practical action points to address mastitis in his herd.
Dairy Connect was developed in response to farmer feedback which highlighted that a large number of farmers wanted to share their knowledge and experience to help others.
Dairy Connect buddies up those farmers looking for information, with others who can help.
‘‘Currently, DairyNZ has 80 support farmers across the Waikato region – people with varied backgrounds and experiences, which are of extreme value,’’ said Mrs Broekhuizen.
The support farmers have areas of particular strength or recent experience, through development on their farm, and are happy to share that knowledge with others.
People looking for information or help with anything – for example, animal health, environmental management, business development, or who are new to an area, can contact Dairy Connect.
From there, a support farmer will be identified and both will have contact details and topic information exchanged.
Then, it’s up to them to pick up the connection.
It usually involves a phone call, maybe a farm visit and often a follow-up call.
Dairy Connect is a resource for people at all business and career levels. How to get involved? Visit dairynz.co.nz, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 7969).
Handy advice: Janine Broekhuizen explains the Dairy Connect process to farmer Lief Tumai.