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Q Can you tell me about your background?
I have been working in the dairy sector since I was 17 when I started relief milking on a neighbour’s farm in Southland. I loved working with animals and have chosen jobs in my career that involve working with animals.
I trained as a vet nurse, worked in sheep dairying and in a genetics lab. I then worked for LIC in several roles, lastly as a field assist team leader.
Q What does your role with DairyNZ involve?
A big part of my job is responding to calls to DairyNZ’s Early Response Service across Southland and Otago. This is a free service we offer, which helps farmers care for their cows when conditions get challenging.
Once we get a call, we partner with the dairy company to visit the farm.
If a welfare risk is identified, we work with the farmer to make a plan, which supports them to improve animal care.
This can involve bringing in vets, farm consultants, the Rural Support Trust or whoever is best able to offer advice.
Another part of my job is to carry out animal care consultations.
Our team completes 500 welfare consultations a year across New Zealand with farmers.
We collect a range of information on calving, animal transport, lameness, mastitis, de-horning and a number of other animal health indicators. The data is anonymous and has a really wide range of uses. It helps us track on-farm practices and ensure we are investing in the right areas, and in conversations with Government about policy setting.
I am also always on the end of the phone to answer any questions farmers or rural professionals may have on animal care and any changes to welfare standards.
Q What are some of the benefits of your role?
Wintering has been an area where our consulting officers have received a number of farmer questions and I am looking forward to supporting farmers with advice on animal care when wintering.
I enjoy working with animals and supporting farmers to continue to care for their animals.
It’s been interesting seeing the differences in farming across Southland and I am enjoying meeting farmers and rural professionals.
If you would like to contact our confidential Early Response Service you can contact us on 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4324-7969).
You can also phone this number and ask to speak to me if you would like advice on animal care.
Q What is your next goal within the job?
I am looking forward to getting to know local farmers better and working in our sector where there is a strong commitment to continuing to provide great animal care.