Federated Farmers Southland provincial president Russell
MacPherson, of Centre Bush, is a member of the Venture
Southland, Southland Futures Primary Careers Youth Strategy
He wanted to see more young people from both urban and rural
backgrounds encouraged to work in the agricultural sector.
''It does seem a waste of human capital when young people are
not interested,'' Mr MacPherson said.
''There are always opportunities in dairy farms for young
people but it is hard to get New Zealanders to come on to our
''That is why farmers get migrants who are very good workers,
and that is why farmers employ them.''
He said young people needed to understand they could become
quite wealthy if they knuckled down and got involved in the
''It is a great job that pays well and encourages young
''They have got to start at the bottom and work their way up
the food chain, but for some reason [many] New Zealanders
want to start at the top, but it doesn't work like that.''
He said the media could also be blamed for portraying dairy
It had a part to play and needed to stop stereotyping the
industry, so the young people would have an open mind about
''We need to work on breaking down social barriers.''
He said farming might not be everyone's cup of tea but there
were a lot of young people from urban backgrounds who would
enjoy working on the land.
His vision was to encourage young people from places such as
Auckland to move down to work on the farms.
He said if young people did not consider farm jobs as a
career, eventually many farms would disappear out of New
''If you take a long-term view of the industry, to be a
farmer there's 20 years of poverty to own a farm.
''For young people seeing their future in farm ownership,
they are going to have to make sacrifices, but they can come
out quite wealthy people.''
- by Yvonne O'Hara