Girls outnumber boys on this farm
The agriculture industry is looking for more skilled workers but men still vastly outnumber women in the zone.
Yet that’s not the case in a Hamilton agriculture class, where numbers tilt the other way.
Nine young women and eight men finished the latest round of the National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2, offered through Trainme.
The prospect of getting out of the classroom attracted Morrinsville’s Angel Ryan, 17, despite limited experience in the agricultural sector.
‘‘I’ve done milking a couple of times and that’s pretty much it,’’ she said.
Quad bike training was a favourite part of the course for her, and ‘‘just getting out of the course and going into different environments on the farms’’.
She was pleased girls outnumbered guys.
‘‘The boys used to say that girls can do certain jobs and boys can do the others but a couple of times us girls proved the boys wrong with doing their job right.’’
Ryan can see herself working part time in agriculture in the future, and the sector won over course-mate Chance Taingahue, 19 – now making plans for a career in it.
This comes in a climate where agriculture industry players bemoan the lack of graduates and the Government has announced it wants to double export returns by 2025.
Yet women are a minority in agriculture, forestry and fishing, according to Statistics New Zealand figures.
The sector employed 50,900 women and 112,500 men in March 2016.
So new recruits to the industry have the support of those already in it.
‘‘Dairy women are getting a lot more involved and a lot more vocal about it,’’ Dairy Women’s Network North Waikato regional convenor Jodie Goudswaard said.
She and husband Carl sharemilk 450 cows near Te Kauwhata.
Her domain on the farm is office-type work, including health and safety, human relations and finance management – as well as pitching in for calving and relief milking.
Experienced dairy workers are hard to find at the moment, she said, so some train on the job.
‘‘It’s an employees’ market out there in dairy farming. If you come in and work hard and train hard then you’ll have no trouble getting a job... And you typically get a house as part of it.’’
Another dairy woman is Jade Millner who, with husband Bobby, won the share farmer category of the 2016 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards.
‘‘Don’t be frightened off by that sway towards male domination at the moment,’’ she said.
‘‘Just work hard at what you do and prove yourself on the farm and employers notice that.’’
The Millners struck it lucky with the first people they worked for – Matamata’s Steve and Trish Atkinson became their mentors.
The couple are now 50:50 sharemilking 270 jersey cows just north of Morrinsville, and Jade also does some accounting work as a side earner.
The National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2 is a free, 18 week course intended for teenagers disengaged with the schooling system.
Guys normally outnumber girls in an intro to agriculture course offered in Hamilton. But this semester females outnumbered the males by one. Pictured from left are Brenda Pairama, 17, Mina Te Hana,16, Oof (Cheyanne) Murch, 17, Samara Norling, 17, Angel Ryan, 17, Jasmine Milton, 17, Haylee Madden, 16, and Chance Taingahue, 19.