People in this phase of their dairy career may have high levels of responsibility and low equity in the business. They could be longer-term employeesfamily members or people who have a significant responsibility in the business management but, as yet, do not have equity in the business.

People at this stage are moving along their career path and need a clear idea of their options both within and outside of the business. They often have high levels of skills and experience, which makes them highly valuable to the business.

In a competitive industry, such as dairy, these employees and family members are highly sought after. It is important that the business has an effective retention strategy and a clear career pathway for people in this phase. Regular performance appraisals that include open discussions about the individual’s career opportunities as well as the direction of the business are a way of achieving a common path forward.

It is at this stage that many farm businesses struggle with succession as the people who have the high levels of responsibility and management roles, may not be prepared to offer these to others. It may simply be that they are not ready for change, in which case it may be necessary for those in a growing role in the farm business to look elsewhere for their own opportunities. This is the time when such people are likely to be motivated to make a step up to management level. They may manage assets for another person or their own assets as a share farmer.

Management requires sound practical dairy skills as well as administration and business skills. Some level of training will be required to take the next step.

At this phase, a person’s experience will be reflected in their wage and reward structure. It is time to set themselves, and perhaps their family, up for the future by considering saving and investment strategies. Contacting a financial planner could be an excellent first step to creating long-term wealth.

At the time when working responsibilities are increasing there are also often additional family demands; such as caring for children or elderly parents. Getting work-life balance right will be important.

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