NZ Dairy Winter 2022

| 83 nzdairy DAIRY PEOPLE » Te Maunga Farms Major focus on staff at Te Maunga Farms Richard Loader For successful Manawatu dairy farmers and past Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Supreme award winners, Andrew Hardie and Helen Long, farming sustainably is as much about their staff as it is the environment or the animals. Andrew and Helen own and operate Te Maunga Farms. Nestled between the Manawatu and Mangatewainui Rivers, Te Maunga sits 12 kilometres north east of Dannevirke in the upper Manawatu river catchment and is home to 680 once-a-day cows. Encompassing a total of 428ha, the farm is portioned into a 240ha-milking platform, 83ha support block, 41ha of pine plantation, 29ha of regenerating bush, and a QEII open space covenant established in 2019. After 14 years employing lower order sharemilkers and contract milkers, this season the Andrew and Helen made the decision to engage a farm manager and three other full time dairy workers, supported by casual staff for relief work throughout the year and during calf rearing. Andrew says staff sustainability is about ensuring everyone in the team is comfortable and empowered in their roles, receives encouragement to further their training and farming careers, and enabled to contribute to the on-going development of the farm plan. “We strive for best on farm practises in all things, particularly with regard to health and safety, time off and working conditions. “If people are happy in their work and feel ful- lled then the job gets done more effectively and ef ciently. Having plenty of relief staff and time off in the rooster is vital for everyone’s well-being, including the farm and the industry. “It’s a pretty damning statistic that about 30% of rst time farm workers leave the industry. Our staff are contracted on an hourly basis with the option of overtime if they want to pick it up. Helen and I believe roles are ful lled with greater success when there is less time pressure. “Rushing jobs is the killer to successful outcomes.” Over the years Andrew has learned that although his way of doing things is important, it is not the only way to do things. If staff can incorporate their way of doing things into the system, then he says they are often happier and more productive. “I think that’s very important. People need to have a really good job description, which with us, they help to write. Whenever someone comes for Te Maunga’s Andrew Hardie says some of the best ways to hold onto good staff include providing good farm accommodation, work place training, good job descriptions and empowering them with responsibilities and goals – “so that they feel valued.” “We strive for best on farm practises, particularly with regard to health and safety, time off and working conditions.” Email: Proud to support Te Maunga Farms Hay, Baleage & Feeds Kevin Hermansen 027 485 5755 Silage & Trucking Paul Glover 027 286 1699 Agricultural Cultivation Jason McGrory 027 347 6332 Pond Liners P: 0800 454 646 For Effluent Ponds and Irrigation Dams a job interview we give them our farm operation policy, which details the way we like things to be done in the absence of someone being here to tell them what to do. “But we invite them to study the job description and come back to us with their own description. That empowers them and encourages them to think about their role and what they can add to our business.” From Andrew’s long experience, one of the best ways to hold onto good staff is to provide good farm accommodation, work place training, good job descriptions and empower them with responsibilities and goals, so that they feel valued. “Finally, you offer them a fair wage package, because often it’s not about the pay – it’s about feeling valued. We encourage our staff to grow and develop as farmers and we offer them further training here which we pay for. As a farmer you have to be seen as the employer of choice, the same as any business. So you have to sell yourself in that light.”