Feeling like your getting the end of season blues? That constant whirlwind of one thing after the next…. It's March, surely things will be slowing down soon... Yeah right!
What a season, what an experience and the most rewarding part was the constant challenges pushing me ahead. I have learnt so much this season in a sole charge position running cows 260 to 340 throughout the 2017 – 18 season.
Being in the dairy industry for 4 – 5 full time years I’ve learned a lot and have also seen a lot and experienced many different situations, while continuously throwing myself into trying anything new.
I was very fortunate to do a Navigational Conversations course at Lincoln with Corene Walker last year, my theory behind this was – I am working in a sole charge position, my biggest focus was pushing myself. Confidence, goals, determination and a great, positive attitude to guide who ever may fill in my days off to minimise any errors occurring in my absence. It really did give me the confidence I lacked and I am sure I'm not the only female in this industry who struggles in what has traditionally be seen as a male dominated industry.
I have faced a few challenges this season. The biggest issues have been heat and flies. I think we have managed this the best way possible and still maintained steady results. Cows have come in great condition and empty rate was on par with what we expected. So overall I am feeling happy the fact I have made a lot of calls and also had strong support along the way, whether that be advice or reassurance I am on the right track.
This season has shown me my own capability first hand and opened my eyes up to my strengths and weakness while allowing me to be honest with myself as to what I need to work on and what my focus points need to be. With new sharemilkers and for sale signs up, I have had my sights set on jobs further up the mainland.
I’ve been doing interviews since November and have applied for 11 jobs, 3 of them were ones I had my heart set on. These 3 farms were outstanding! What attracted me? The confidence they showed me, the healthy conversations and tossing ideas around, comparing situations and understanding, secure systems in place, positive results with staff being long term and also people who can admit that they support a healthy family environment.
One thing my current boss said to me was to ensure my next boss knows my family is high priority. This is actually doable. I may exhaust myself at times trying to make all ends meet with work life and family life but I do my best. My focus for the upcoming season is not to run myself ragged doing so.
Fortunately I’ve found a farm strongly involved in our Millennium Farming team. With Millennium Farming having its focus on work and family life balance, it's exciting to see what fabulous things we will achieve together as a team this season that will benefit myself and my family and also my team mates in similar situations. This will also ensure the help and support I need to keep me progressing through my career.
Both of the other farms I really liked the look of were Craigmore farms. I was highly impressed by the systems in place, the structure of the farm inputs and outputs and the standards of which they are working. They also showed themselves to be supportive of social and family life among their current teams. The part I particularly liked, although (unfortunate for me) is that they are progressing their staff among farms. This improves staff retention and offers challenges within their teams.
I can see some strong leaders running these businesses and it reminds me that leadership is key. If you're consistently losing staff each season and having trouble retaining them, maybe its time to up your game with leadership and see how you can GROW then maintain a successful team?
Your team is your biggest asset, make sure you allow them to grow, encourage confidence and lead the way.