A campaign to attract job seekers to a career in dairy farming has seen hundreds apply - but Dairy NZ says the industry is desperate for more.

More than 200 people have registered an interest in the Go Dairy campaign which includes online study followed by practical farm-based training.

DairyNZ spokeswoman Jane Muir said there had been strong interest from people across a range of backgrounds from tourism marketing, tour guiding, and hospitality to software engineering, finance and biology.

Muir said it was too early to tell how many people had moved into the industry but stressed there were more than 1000 positions still available.


The industry was preparing to move into calving season so action was needed to have people trained in time.

"There are 1000 jobs up for grabs now on dairy farms, with plenty of work in Waikato, Canterbury, Otago and Southland, in particular," Muir said.

"We want more Kiwis in dairy and our Go Dairy campaign is designed to train and recruit them."

Muir said Go Dairy was about creating awareness of job opportunities in dairy – and it had a big emphasis on ensuring newcomers understood farm life before they arrived.

The three-week programme includes a week of online learning followed by two weeks of practical training.

The first week of the Farm Ready Training programme builds on the trainees' understanding of working and living on a New Zealand dairy farm, completed online.

At the end of week one, attendees would know if a career in dairying was right for them.

The second and third week of training included practical basics of animal handling, farm infrastructure and farm vehicle safety.


"It's about creating a win-win – employment for keen and committed career changers – and providing farm employers with new team members who're prepared for life on-farm," Muir said.

Around 50 people started on June 8 and there is another intake soon.

Practical training takes place on farms in Waikato and Southland.

There are around 12,000 farm businesses throughout New Zealand that employed more than 34,000 people.

Covid-19 had left the industry with a severe shortage of skilled staff with valuable migrant workers stuck overseas.

The calving season kicks off in July and Muir said DairyNZ said even with the Go Dairy course there would be a severe shortage.

DairyNZ was working at getting around 40 highly skilled migrant workers on temporary visas back to New Zealand.

It had asked the Government for them to be let back into the country as soon as possible.