Dairy jobs go begging

THERE is still work aplenty on Tasmanian farms, with one dairy operator hoping a greater awareness of farm-work opportunities will prove alluring to local job seekers.

Tasmania’s current unemployment is at a record low but farmers are struggling to find workers from the diminished pool. Cressy dairy farmer Robert Rigney said the lower unemployment rate also meant the greater competition for available and willing workers was creating difficulties. “Normally we’d have an advertisement on Gumtree for a general farmhand getting 80 to 100 applicants,” Mr Rigney said. “I guess Covid did upset that but this year we’ve still only had three or four responses.”

Mr Rigney said most of his employees come through connections made with current workers and most were not locals. “We employ mostly through word-of-mouth of current employees as well as a having a few university students filling in weekend shifts. “But we still find it quite challenging getting locals in and wanting to get involved with the dairy industry.”

Mr Rigney believes if people knew the opportunities that working in the dairy industry offered, there would be a far greater number of applicants. “Obviously it attracts a different type of person. “We know there are some people that would just prefer to be in a cafe. “But to the people who love the great outdoors it is a pretty rewarding job and career path.

“Dairy as a career can suit a wide variety of people and this sort of work is a great pathway into the industry. “There’s the scientific side like AI, animal husbandry and veterinary work as well as the milking and cheese-making side of the industry.”