Retention of people in dairy farming – what is working and why?

Dairy industry data suggests that there is a retention problem in the Australian dairy farm sector. This is a source of direct cost to farm businesses and is limiting the effectiveness of career pathways and skill development.

Farm ownership in Australia is shifting to fewer and larger farms with a reliance on a paid workforce. To maintain or grow the industry, we require an understanding of how well dairying attracts, retains and develops its workforce.

The research revealed employees were retained because of the comprehensive employment strategies of their employers; employers were motivated toward employment strategies that suited their own preferred working environment; retention was considered to extend beyond the farm gates; and regional plans play an important part.

This project was funded by the Gardiner Foundation and developed by Dr Ruth Nettle, Augusto Semmelroth, Dr Rebecca Ford (University of Melbourne/Dairy Australia) and Dr Connie Zheng (Deakin University).

Two Stage 1 reports are available: