Waikato is one of the world’s richest agricultural and pastoral regions and is the heart of New Zealand’s famous dairy industry.
The Waikato Farmers Trust is a charitable trust with a real passion for farming and the agribusiness community in the Waikato. Their vision is :
- Growing knowledge in rural Waikato
- Supporting the well-being of rural communities
- To be Waikato’s largest enduring Trust
The trust’s goal is to help rural communities grow and thrive by offering scholarships, funding and sponsorships to individuals, organisations and other charities to benefit the rural and agribusiness communities.
The FutureForce® Team caught up with Edward Roskam, Waikato Dairy Farmer and former Matamata College student to find out more…
Top Career Tip
“If an opportunity comes up, put in the effort to go through the door – you never know what’s on the other side. Also be honest with yourself, and make sure you’re true to yourself by putting in the effort.”
A Chat with Eddie about his role
Former Matamata College Student
How does your day look?
Day-to-day I get up at about 4.30am to get the cows into the yard to begin milking. That goes for about two hours. Afterwards I get the fun job of feeding the calves. The rest of the day mainly makes up of collecting cows and calves, shifting cows onto new grass, getting feed ready for the afternoon and organising paddocks.
What got you interested in dairy farming?
Dairy Farming runs in my blood, I’m a fourth generation dairy farmer so it was a natural progression to go down this route. Throughout school I did a gateway programme to find other jobs that could interest me, but at the end of the day dairy farming was for me.
What do you love about what you do?
There’s a lot of things to love about dairy farming. One is the animals. You get to drive tractors, you’re out in the sun (but also the rain but it’s alright). I enjoy the milking and the consistency of doing the same thing for some tasks. I also enjoy the variety of work. One day you could be a plumber fixing water troughs, you could be a builder fixing up the cow sheds, a fencer – all sorts. Dairy farming encompasses all different jobs into one job everyday.
Where would you like to go with your career?
At the moment I’m a 2IC and in the future I’d like to become a manager and go contract milking to build up equity and buy my own cows one day. Eventually farm ownership would be the dream goal.
What advice do you have for someone starting out dairy farming?
I’d suggest going to local dairy farms around the area and putting your interest in to come for a day. Just to experience what it’s all about, see what the farm owner does day to day.
I’d also suggest gateway or a careers programme – that really helped me narrow down what I really like. I ended up leaving school halfway though year 12 as I narrowed out all of my other options of being a truck driver or working in a quarry. I knew what I wanted to do before I finished school by discovering other jobs.
Work hard, it pays off!
What have you learnt on the job?
Main things I’ve learnt is that:
- You actually need a lot of patience. Patience with the animals, patience with doing big tasks – being able to continue and get through tasks.
- When you put in the hard work you’ll get rewarded. Getting stuck in now will make tomorrow a lot easier, so just keeping this in mind.
- I’ve learnt a lot of general skills such as: fencing, tractor driving, and looking out for the animal health. You’re forever learning on the job, there’s always something new to learn.
- You’re constantly teaching yourself how to do things and coming up with new ways to tackle problems. Problem solving is a big aspect of dairy farming, and something I’m still learning. I enjoy this aspect.
What advice would you give someone deciding on their career?
Hard work pays off. Set yourself some goals – this is helpful in pushing yourself. I set the goal of becoming a 2IC after three years, and I’ve managed to achieve that which is awesome. I’m forever setting new goals to keep pushing myself. Control what you can control. Always think ahead, don’t get too caught up on yesterday. Use yesterday to motivate your present and your future.
Everyone should give farming a go. There’s a lot of opportunities to take, so take every opportunity you can get. If an opportunity comes up put in the effort to go through the door, and you never know what’s on the other side. Also be honest with yourself, and make sure you’re true to yourself by putting in the effort. Dairy farming is a hardworking job but it’s enjoyable. You get to be in the sun, working with animals, driving tractors. Give it a go, reach out try and get involved. Everyone’s willing to help you out and have you around.
Have an open mind, ask questions, communicate with people, and take every opportunity.
On the job
What do you do at work?
Eddie’s tasks at work can include:
» Milking and caring for dairy cattle
» Fixing and building fences
» Feeding out
» Spreading fertiliser
» Tractor work
» Maintaining equipment and machinery
» Spraying weeds
» Following health and safety procedures
» Pest control
Farming may come with perks, such as:
- Free or subsidised housing
- Free or subsidised power, phone, food, milk or meat
- Transport or petrol allowances
- Training and education
- Production and performance bonuses
Recommended school subjects are:
ABOUT WAIKATO FARMERS TRUST
The Waikato Farmers Trust is a charitable trust with a real passion for farming and the agribusiness community in Waikato. The trust’s goal is to help rural communities grow and thrive by offering scholarships, funding and sponsorship to individuals, organisations and other charities to benefit the rural and agribusiness communities.
VISION: Growing knowledge in rural Waikato and supporting the well-being of rural communities.