Challenge #3

How can we leverage technology to train/upskill farm workers and potentially attract new workers to farming?


Perhaps the biggest problem our dairy farmers face on a regular basis are challenges with their labour force. Across New Zealand it can be extremely difficult to find and then retain well-trained staff. Farmers can become reliant on transient/seasonal workers and staff who have English as a second language.

There is also a view that less young people are interested in becoming dairy farmers. The positive aspects of choosing a farming life aren’t communicated as well as they could be (i.e. healthy lifestyle – outdoors working with animals and machinery, problem solving challenges, complex and interesting workplace – lots of variables to juggle, wave of new technology, automation, and data insights to help drive improvements, pathways to farm ownership).

Detailed Challenge Description/Things to consider:
Our challenge to the group is to find an innovative way to leverage technology in up-skilling farm workers and as a stretch, be used to help attract workers.

  • How can we efficiently engage and train workers, with varying levels of capability and from a variety of cultures?


  • Farmers are not always naturally skilled at being coaches, or “people managers”.

  • Sending workers on courses can be expensive and a poor ROI if they don’t stay long.

  • The average age of a NZ dairy farmer is on the rise and this adds to the challenges around adoption of technology and new ways of working – simplicity and clearly seeing value is key.

  • Walmart has recently purchased 17K VR headsets to augment staff training.


Developing People Through Training Factsheet

Employee Training Checklist

Off-farm Training Factsheet

On-farm Training Factsheet

Skills Checklist Assistant Manager

Skills Checklist Farm Manager

Skills Checklist Herd Manager

Training Planner


This challenge has been submitted by: