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Does farming attract the desperate?

Why is it that there seems to be no good people to employ in the rural sector today?

No motivated, skilled people coming through, wanting to work with us on farms.

Do what we did and succeed like we have?

We are offering them an opportunity to achieve the things that they want. Wealth and freedom. We keep trying to bring people into our teams, our families but they just throw it back in our face.

The problem is that they're too lazy or they let their personal life get in the way of their success.

It's all over the news how young people are lazy and drug takers. Even the Prime Minister is in the news complaining about the skills of our young people - it must be true.....

...Or is there another reason?

Why is it that farming is having trouble attracting high quality people?

Farming, both dairy and drystock, has always been an opportunity for people to progress. An opportunity to move through the ranks, work hard and there will be opportunities to "be your own boss” or “own your own farm one day”.

This catch phrase has been an advertisement for employing people in agriculture for the last 150 years.

Is it possible that this call to farming is no longer working? No longer attracting high quality people with options and choice. What I see and hear is that people no longer believe this ingrained cultural belief. People coming into the industry no longer believe that "if they work really hard, they will own their own farm one day”.

What they see is sharemilkers staying in their jobs. They see less 50/50 jobs and they see contract and lower order sharemilkers failing, burning out with debt and stress related depression.

Let’s face it, the economic conditions around the increase in scale of farms, the massive lift in the capital value of land in relation to cash generation, sandwiched between the increased cost of environmental, employment and social compliance, has created a reality that people with no equity will not buy their own farm one day.

You can say it is because they are lazy or spend too much of their income but it doesn’t change the fact that good people no longer believe in the promise and when people no longer believe our promise of farm ownership or the “Good life” what sort of people do we attract?

We attract the desperate.

Desperate for money (because they've lost all the other jobs they ever had), desperate for a different life (because their life now is in tatters), desperate for a house, desperate because they have no education.

The list goes on and on - you get the picture.

We offer a false promise and we attract desperate people that will accept any promise.

Farming is a role that requires skill and personal discipline. Also if you're on a larger farm you need highly developed interpersonal skills.

Desperate people are unlikely to have these skills.

They fail. We blame them. Then ask why there are no good people anymore.

You know the old saying “It is easier to change yourself then change others?”

What if we changed what we offered people who work on farms?

What if we all knew how to be great leaders?

What if we created great teams and made great places to work?

Would we then find and attract great people?

I know we can.

Let’s move farming to the next millennium. Let’s become great leaders and employers in a great industry, like we have done in the past.

Stu Taylor

Dairy Farmer

Millennium Farming

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