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How can the NZ dairy industry design workplaces to attract the best of the next generation?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

In 2019, my partner Isaac and I were offered an 1100 cow contract milking job in the beautiful Bay of Plenty. We were 23 and 24 years old, I hadn’t been dairy farming full time before and Isaac had roughly 3 years experience, in primarily a farm assistant role. We received a lot of great advice prior to our first season. And what was the most common piece of advice we received?

“Cows are easy, people are hard”

After having many discussions with friends around a beer and being sick of asked “Do you guys really work eight days in a row?” or “Are you really waking up at 4am?” I began to wonder if we were doing right by our team, or if we were just accepting what had always been done.

This research project investigated what is being done in our industry and how we can learn from industry leading employers, and out of industry leaders. The question is, “Learning from global workplace trends, how can the NZ dairy industry design workplaces to attract the best of the next generation into our workforce?”

Over the past 20 years the dairy industry has seen huge expansion, with the herd size doubling in a twenty year period. As of 2018, the NZ dairy industry workforce was made up of roughly 40,000 people with 22,500 of these being employees.

Nationally 88% of employee are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, and research by StatsNZ identified six key metrics driving work satisfaction. These were hour and times of work, flexibility, job security, workplace autonomy, workplace relationships and work related stress and tiredness.

From my twelve semi structured interviews with leading employers the key common themes across both in and out of industry employers were the need for clear communication, importance of developing a competitive workplace and the importance of flexibility and work life balance.

My call to action is for our industry to question current practices. The areas that I believe are worth focusing on:

  • Encourage flexible rosters and pay scales.
  • Foster leaders not managers on farm.
  • Develop safe workplaces cultures that allow autonomy and innovation.
  • A share purpose on every farm.

I have put forward many ideas in the final section, and my hope is that any farmer who reads this report considers each idea and whether they could implement one on farm. My key recommendations are:

  1. Look within.
  2. Ask your people.
  3. Try something!

Read Jordyn’s full report here:

How can the NZ dairy industry design workplaces to attract the best of the next generation.

Generation Z and the environment – how can we use their passion to attract them into food and fibre sector careers?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

The Food and Fibre sector in New Zealand can be a great place to work. However, Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2010) does not always see the opportunities available to them in this diverse and rewarding sector. At the same time, the sector needs more people, partly due to the pace of change it is facing as environmental concerns, consumer attitudes and needs of the sector evolve.

The influence of Gen Z on the workforce is only beginning and will continue to grow. This generation is very different to those before and define themselves by their values and identity. The defining issue of this generation will be climate change and the environment. In New Zealand, agriculture is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This could be viewed as a problem to attracting Gen Z into the sector. At the same time the sector is being asked and is actively looking to understand how it can improve its environmental impact.

This research has focused on how we can use Gen Z’s passion about the environment to attract them into the sector. The sector needs skilled and passionate people to meet the challenges it faces.

My research and survey have highlighted some key areas in which the current system could be strengthened. This involves aligning Food and Fibre sector careers with the values of Gen Z through:

  • Strengthened sector approach to career attraction in the Food and Fibre Sector in a Gen Z context
  • Reframing the story around the Food and Fibre sector to appeal to Gen Z values
  • Gen Z focused communication strategies.

These recommendations recognise that appealing to Gen Z is not only important in terms of attracting the labour required but also the attitudes and values needed in the Food and Fibre sector going forward. Gen Z have more choices than ever before for their future careers. The Food and Fibre sector needs to come to Gen Z to build the capability the sector will need in the short and long term.

Read Madison’s full report here:

Generation Z and the environment – how can we use their passion to attract them into food and fibre sector.

Rural freshwater quality. What’s perception? What’s reality?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

It feels in recent times public perception has been increasingly negative towards the primary Industries as a result of the water quality “showdown” between farmers, government and the general public. The urban rural divide has been perceived to be greater than ever, and social media has presented a new arena for robust debate about water quality.

However, this project discovered that:

  • Even though four out of five Kiwis rate water quality as their number 1 environmental concern 60% still feel positive about the primary industries.
  • Water quality is giving way to other key issues growing in concern for New Zealanders like climate change, greenhouse gases, recycling, ocean pollution and more.
  • New Zealanders perception on whether they feel positive or negative farming has been eroding since 2008. However, since 2017 has been improving and post Covid 19 that trend has been galvanised.
  • Negative perception towards the primary industries is still largely based around Dairy’s impact on water quality.
  • The dominate land use within a catchment has the biggest influence on water and ecosystem health.
  • Lag time between land use or system changes made now and impacts on water quality can be upwards of 50 years depending on the natural makeup of the land scape.
  • Water quality has been stable nationally over the last 10 years.
  • Northland has high Dissolved reactive phosphorus in the ground and river/stream water but low nitrogen levels.
  • Waikato has huge variances across the catchment but has pockets with high nitrogen and phosphorus levels.

As a result of these findings, I believe:

  • Farmers need to continue forming catchment groups which involve the urban community especially in highly sensitive catchments. Forming catchment management plans with all key stakeholders will improve water quality and public perceptions.
  • Industry groups need to unite as one and have one voice when lobbying central government to ensure regulation is pragmatic and has timeframes which allow for the environmental work already done on farm to take effect in water quality results.
  • The industry as a whole need to continue their environmental improvements and tell their story louder and wider to ensure those not involved in the sector can understand the sacrifices and changes being made.
  • Northland farmers need to focus on containment lost through overland flow to reduce phosphorus and sediment reaching water ways.
  • Waikato farmers need to continue improving their nutrient efficiencies to ensure any nutrients brought into the system is required and utilised at the correct time to minimise nitrogen and phosphorus lost to the environment.

Read the full report:

Rural freshwater quality – what’s perception what’s reality.

Bobby Calves – Industry benefits rather than wasteful perception.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

The world population continues to grow and so does the demand for animal proteins. The primary sector exports the majority of the dairy and meat products produced nationally and as a result contributes billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy. As a nation we want to achieve the highest premiums for our products to maximise our returns, as a result we are a consumer lead industry.

Consumers have more choices now than ever before and are much more conscious of the food they purchase. They are happy to pay extra to ensure the quality of the product, but these premiums also have to meet their expectations around environment and animal welfare, two aspects that are under constant scrutiny as the world moves into an era trying to deal with climate change.

New Zealand is seen by many as a clean and green country at the bottom of the world that produces dairy and meat products with the lowest environmental footprint, but our uniqueness doesn’t come without some unique issues.

As an industry we send 1.9 million four day old calves to slaughter every year in a very short space of time, this practice has all but ceased in the rest of the world, and while we meet all animal welfare code requirements in the treatment of these calves, ethically people do not like the thought of killing four day old animals, and this is putting pressure on the future of the New Zealand bobby calf industry.

I have conducted many interviews over the last few months throughout the bobby calf supply chain, these have been conducted in person and via “Teams” meetings over the internet. Some of the interviews have been recorded, and others who wanted to remain anonymous I only took notes. Once I had conducted all my interviews I broke down the information into common themes to ascertain what current value these calves currently contribute to our economy and was their life a life worth living? Did that life add value?

While many people were happy to speak to me, due to the enormity of the topic it was less easy to acquire supporting information to validate my findings. Bobby calves are currently flying under the radar and nobody really wanted to draw unnecessary attention to their businesses.

I was able to identify that 100% of the calf is utilised and that it is broken down into many products that are exported around the world. Because of the age of the calf and New Zealand’s disease free status compared to other countries the products the calf goes into achieve export premiums due to the high quality of goods.

One of the key insights was the continuity of employment these calves brought to the industry, helping keep meat processing plants operational in a quiet period of time. Being able to offer more staff full time employment was good for the processors the staff and the local communities and the economy.

While there weren’t any products that could not continue to be produced from an adult animal, the quality of some of these products would be reduced. We could simply remove bobby calves overnight but the flow on costs to the industry would not counteract the additional value potentially achieved by growing these calves out to be slaughtered at an older age.

To remove the bobby calf from the industry is going to take considerable collaboration across the primary sector to come up with solutions and markets that we currently do not have, and is a cost that potentially have to be worn by the dairy farmer as the only way to rear these animals through to an older age is to displace some of the 4.9 million dairy cows.

While it was clear that the calf was treated humanely and added significant value to the industry, it did not answer the ethical debate of whether it will continue to be socially acceptable to slaughter four day old calves.

It seems ironic to me that the consumers in International countries like China or Europe that want dairy and meat products from animals that do not support a bobby calf industry are the same countries / consumers that will pay premiums for the co-products that are generated from the bobby calf.

To full understand the financial and social benefits that the current 1.9 million bobby calves contribute to society and to our economy I would recommend a full industry review be carried out that can them be used as the benchmark for any proposed future solution for their removal.

Read Greg’s full report here:

Bobby calves – Industry benefits rather than wasteful perception.

Reflection on foreign direct investment in the Central South Island primary industry.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into rural land is a topic that most New Zealanders have an opinion on and in the past two decades has become an increasingly controversial and emotive topic. Our economy is driven from production using our land and water resources, this is seen as our competitive advantage – so the ownership of these resources is continually under the spotlight, regularly reported on and is a frequent political issue.

New Zealand also needs to broadly recognise the direct links FDI has with supplying our nation with much needed capital, continued and new access to offshore markets, innovation, and technology. Contentiousness around FDI has been centred around the sell down of our land assets (and by default our competitive advantage), with less consideration given to the immediate and downstream benefits.

This study aims to reflect on Foreign Direct Investment and provide an overview of where we are today, the numbers and trends, particularly in reference to the central South Island. It will explain how Foreign Direct Investment is governed and regulated in New Zealand and investigate our current legislative policy in New Zealand.

It was important to review national and regional literature on Foreign Direct Investment in New Zealand with a lens towards my home region of Canterbury and balance this with a series of interviews and case studies with farmers, rural professionals, academics and overseas investors. All parties have been selected to seek a balanced view of the impacts of Foreign Direct Investment in the central South Island since 2005. And where are we heading?

The key findings and recommendations from the report show:

  • As New Zealand farmers become more sophisticated in their approach to business, we are seeing more happening in the <25% investment space, “It’s New Zealanders accessing strategic capital offshore, not the other way around”.
  • Access to the ‘right’ capital is fundamental to our country’s long term prosperity, we need a balanced approach towards finding the right type of investor. The opportunity exists to further grow our agri-economies by partnering and co-investing.
  • The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) will continue to face a challenge in applying the purpose of the Act. The current legislation is accommodating the easy wins for New Zealand i.e. forestry investment and viticulture. Tension remains around our pastoral activities.
  • The regulatory framework from which foreign ownership is governed is key and needs regular review. The consensus is we nearly have this legislation right.
  • There is an ease in attracting FDI to New Zealand, it includes our open and business-friendly economy, low levels of corruption, good protection of property rights, high living standards, political stability and advantageous tax policy.
  • There is broad acknowledgement that it is a privilege for New Zealand businesses to access FDI and do what they are doing. OIO restrictions are not only a benefit to the nation, but give any business operating in this space clarity about what is expected.

The conclusions and recommendations in this report are targeted at any party wanting a greater understanding of Foreign Direct Investment, the impacts, benefits and future considerations.

Read Richard’s full report here:

Reflection on foreign direct investment in the central south island primary industry.

How do rural women define their success?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

Recognition among our rural women and their success is a topic I don’t think is acknowledged or emphasised enough. Being able to confidently believe and recognise you make an impactful contribution to meet your values, and have a definition of your success while being content with your moral compass is essential.

The aim of this project was to talk to a cross-section of rural women and then make an informed decision about the definition of their success, and how they believe it impacts over their lives and communities.

For this study I interviewed 11 rural women in a semi-structured format as well as recording these conversations and then completing a thematic analysis on the results. Then along with reading plenty of books and articles I have built on these themes to cover the key take-home points.

The importance and relevance of defining these characteristic become the main points to understanding and finding the women’s definition of success:

Identifying success and whether it is measurable

Support systems

Health and wellbeing

Challenges and adversity

Primary industry perceptions and pressures

Following on from these points I then created an understanding and gave clarity to these themes. Having women identifying that their success is a way of how you make others feel and their own needs being met, and that it is measured in reaching a goal or making an achievement.

Having the right support systems around to be able to grow and prosper while finding your purpose has proven central to the women interviewed. Creating a life where health and wellbeing needs are being met and can you identify where change can occur also emerged as a central theme.

It was recognised that facing challenges and adversity and having the resilience to carry on forwards when these may occur was key to success for many interviewees. And finally, having an understanding of the perception of others on what it is you do and how that represents you, while comprehending the effects this may have on our wider industry and the markets that it involves also impacts on women’s understanding of success.

The following are the key observations and recommendations I have discovered during this research:

A need to recognise that rural women’s success comes in different ways;

Measuring success and taking the time to recognise and reward during this process is a constructive exercise;

Having support systems in place to streamline the objectives you want to achieve is essential;

The importance of recognising when you need to address your wellbeing and implement strategies to do this.

Being able to make good clear decisions to know when things align with you values and morals is a clear priority for successful rural women.

Being able to rise above others perceptions and keep focussed on your realities is an important message for rural women.

Joining in with liked-minded groups, such as Rural Women NZ or the Dairy Women’s Network, can provide further opportunities and support.

Resolutions to these themes were then identified in the conclusion and key characteristics of success were identified among these women.

Having the confidence to create and lead change is a defining part of understanding success. Knowing your place within your role, your community, and the industry, and having a plan to implement clear pathways to affect others perceptions is essential. It is clear that believing in the cause and knowing that you can always create and work towards positive change is a key driver for many rural women. I believe these are the key take home points to rural women defining their success.

Read Keri’s full report here:

How do rural women define their success.

A proposed plan of action for meeting the immediate requirements and future expectations of the New Zealand honey industry.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

New Zealand relies on bees to pollinate crops and pasture worth at least $5 billion annually to its economy. In 2019/20, honey export value reached $425 million. In July 2020, the Government released its Fit for a better world vision. While it did not separate the impact on the New Zealand honey industry individually, the numbers infer the industry is being tasked to add $65 million in export earnings cumulatively over the next 10 years. This task falls to the 935 export registered beekeepers (about 10% of total registered beekeepers) to supply Mānuka and/or non-Mānuka honey for export. So, how well is the industry set up to accomplish this task?

Industry members were asked via survey, what was working and not working in the industry across the six areas below. These areas were selected by applying a human psychology lens to understand the motivation behind the behaviour within the industry. Of the 57 respondents, over half indicated they wanted change across five of the six areas.

  1. Sustainable livelihood: 54.4% said the industry was not providing them with a sustainable livelihood, primarily because non-Mānuka honey prices have dropped below cost of production. They also voiced concerns about the oversupply of honey, the overstocking of bees, and the low demand for products like beeswax and propolis. Haar et al. (2017) explains income predicts work-life balance and job satisfaction, and concerningly, Stats NZ (2020) found average 2020 weekly wage and salary earnings in the industry was $1,090 per week, $259 per week less than average 2019 weekly expenditure. Respondents who were getting a sustainable livelihood from the industry credited Mānuka’s high prices and profitability, and their business acumen.
  2. Industry structure: 72.2% said having a more united industry would be an advantage. They believe “we are stronger together” and becoming more unified would mean more collaboration and agreed priorities, better influence over Government and regulators, and greater ability to enforce rules and stop the rogues and cowboys. Respondents happy with the industry structure cited having multiple organisations kept the others honest, ensured all voices are heard and allowed for personal autonomy. However, Coulet (2019) warns there should only be one industry body to represent the ‘voice’ of the industry as Government and regulators find it easier to talk to an industry body vs. every organisation active in the industry, and industry body board members must serve the interest of the whole industry (Boleat, 2001).
  3. Effective communication: 57.9% said the industry did not communicate effectively with them. They cited lack of an accessible national database, lack of communication, lack of one voice, lack of allowing their input, and lack of belief of information communicated were pressing issues. Laundry (2019) explains ineffective communication means important information can be misinterpreted, causing relationships to suffer, and ultimately create barriers that hinder progress.
    Respondents happy with the industry communication said it was because they were a member of ApiNZ and/or had built up personal networks which kept them informed.
  4. Good leadership: 61.4% said the industry leaders were not doing a good job. They cited lack of leadership courage, lack of listening, putting personal agendas first, lack of a unified voice, lack of communication and lack of leader visibility as the reasons. Sinek (2006) advises leadership is not about being in charge but about taking care of those in your charge and Hogan et al. (2005) asserts leadership should be viewed by the ability to build and maintain a group, and evaluated by the performance of the group over time. Respondents happy with the industry leadership said advocacy at Government level and communication with the industry is done well, they are producing results with limited resources, and they are doing their best.
  5. Clear vision: 84.2% said the industry did not have a clear vision. They felt no vision existed as the industry is too fragmented to have a united vision. Sinek (2018) explains a vision is the starting point, the basic building block. A vision provides a sense of purpose and direction and when everyone is pulling toward the same goal, people start trusting each other. Mollenhauer (2015) warns without a vision the industry is going nowhere, because members are inspired by seeing a clear vision forward and can align their energies and resources to achieving progress. Respondents happy with the industry vision cited ApiNZ’s vision of “a thriving long-term future for New Zealand honey and bee products” and universal visions of ‘bee aware’ and making good quality honey and caring about the bees.
  6. Self-fulfilment: 80.7% said their work in the industry fulfilled them. They love the bees, the lifestyle and being outdoors in nature, producing something natural, the sense of achievement from solving problems and supporting others. Respondents who did not feel fulfilled said they were worried about survival of their business and the industry. Concerningly, their feelings of fulfilment are lower than New Zealanders feeling of fulfilment as Stats NZ (Mar 2021 quarter) found 86% of their respondents reported high life satisfaction.

This research shows respondents are calling out for better returns, a unified industry, effective communication, strong leadership, clear vision and greater self-fulfilment. So, is it possible for the industry to create these outcomes? Yes it is, and this report supported by literature recommends a two-phase plan of action to accomplish it:

Phase 1: What does the industry need to change? This is about finding all industry members and capturing their voice for change following a three-step process, which looks like this:

  1. Developing a national database.
  2. Creating a national communication campaign.
  3. Sending out a national survey.

Phase 2: How does the industry change? This is about listening to all industry members responses and guiding them through change by following Kotter’s (2012) proven eight-step process of leading change, which looks like this:

  1. Creating a sense of urgency.
  2. Forming a powerful coalition.
  3. Developing the change vision.
  4. Communicating the vision.
  5. Empowering industry members to act.
  6. Creating quick wins.
  7. Building on the change.
  8.  Anchoring the change into industry culture.

Can this two-phase plan of action work? According to Moore’s (1991) adaptation of the Law of Diffusion of Innovations it can work if 15%-18% of industry members commit to creating change in the industry.

Read Kathryn’s full report here:

A proposed plan for meeting the immediate requirements and future expectations of the NZ honey industry.

How resilient farmers thrive in the face of adversity.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

Farmers face adversity from a range of sources, many of which are outside their control and include: health; natural disasters, weather, and climate challenges; financial; family; and personal loss.

There are established and establishing systems, strategies, support networks, and techniques for recovering quickly from this adversity, or being ‘resilient’. However these tools don’t appear to be conveyed in the form of a simple ‘all-encompassing resilience focused’ model specifically for farmers. Such a model could be utilised by farmers when facing adversity to ask themselves, their family, and their business; “am I, or are we, living and implementing the key strategies and techniques both as an individual and as a team of individuals that we need to be resilient in the face of this adversity”. Be that a flood, an earthquake, a cancer diagnosis, or a commodity price fall.

As a farmer I’ve experienced adversity from a life threatening brain injury which saw me in a coma and suffer a cardiac arrest. Day one in hospital my family was given a prognosis that their husband, dad, and son would be dead today; best case he’d survive but spend the rest of his life in an institution. I obviously did survive, however the following six years saw me undergo many major surgeries and spend considerable time in hospital.

From this experience and my recovery I’ve been told I’m a resilient character and have been asked to give several talks to farmers on my experience and how I became resilient. This has been a humbling and surprising experience for the feedback I’ve had, however this is just one farmer’s thoughts and I wanted to test my theories.

To achieve this I’ve done the Kellogg course and this research project. Resilience literature in farming concentrates on climatic and financial resilience. Due to the apparent lack of a theoretical model for ‘personal resilience’ for farmers within the literature, I’ve taken a grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin 1994) approach to this research through the form of instrumental case studies (Stake, 1998).

The focus has been on developing a theory for how farmers become resilient and thrive in the face of adversity. I have had the privilege of interviewing five resilient New Zealand farming individuals and couples about adversity they’ve faced and how they’ve become resilient. From these interviews there have been strong commonalities across these five case study participants for how they’ve become resilient. The theoretical model developed through the grounded theory research process can best be described in the form of a three level triangle comprising three primary strategies the case study participants have employed to become more resilient (Figure 6):

  • Purpose – this is the direction the participants are moving in their lives and why. This is the direction of the triangle;
  • The middle of the triangle is keeping connected. This is the glue that holds the triangle together. This is keeping connected with other people; friends, family, and networks. These connections are the people in our lives who often buoy us up and encourage us to achieve, to rise above and have courage when going through adversity; and
  • The base of the triangle is keeping well. This is ‘what do I need in my life to be well’, or to be happy and content. This is the foundation for resilience.

Within each of these three common primary strategies there are various secondary techniques that two or more of the case study participants employ to thrive in the face of adversity. Furthermore there were six common characteristics across the five case study participants; driven people, high achievers, emotionally intelligent, unrelentingly positive, grateful, and humble.

My recommendation is the model developed from this research be refined into a format that can be delivered to farmers across New Zealand; ideally by other farmers who have faced severe adversity and have thrived in the face of this adversity and become resilient. How these resilient farmers ‘live’ the model and their stories will facilitate communicating the model to other farmers.

Read Jack’s full report here:

How resilient farmers thrive in the face of adversity.

The benefits of carbon farming inclusion into pastoral farming.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

Carbon farming at present is a hot topic in New Zealand, ongoing pressure from the government and industry leaders to be Zero carbon in all the food we produce.

The purpose of this report is to understand the ongoing factors and importance carbon farming has in New Zealand agriculture now but more so in the future. To understand the opportunities farmers have in making a more profitable business and farming more sustainably through planting trees in low productive land.

Forestry plantings are driven by farmers for many reasons. These include reducing carbon, utilising unproductive land, additional avenues of income, and helping with succession.

These opportunities are not just limited to farmers utilising land for off-setting carbon. On a larger scale the commercial sector are actively looking to off-set their main business in carbon for example Air New Zealand, Contact, Genesis & Z are in partnership, who are trying to convert on marginal productive land.

A small percentage of forestry integrated into a farming enterprise utilising the ineffective more contoured areas will not significantly impact stock production. This can increase income and off-set the farms carbon emission footprint.

The methodology I used in this report was a literature review where I did a lot of reading and research where similar themes became apparent. The themes are:

Forestry returns for farmers are variable for farmers but positive if well managed.

Good cash flow and also carbon returns are possible. It has enabled the ability to match the land to best use in a sustainable way.

Climate change in New Zealand is becoming more topical, with farmers needing to be accountable for their emissions and actively offsetting them.


Climate change is at the forefront of media and importance to knowing your business and environmentally farmers are needing to know their emissions with ways of accounting for them and also a straightforward ways to offset these. With the latest draft of the government’s climate change policy there is some real uncertainty and pressures for farmers. A lot of farmers will lag behind and some will leave the industry. They need support to adapt to changes and regulations to keep up with the new farming regulations.

Further education, understanding and active embracement of the impact of Climate change is, and will continue to be, required by farmers.


A lot of education is needed to fully understand emissions on farm and environmental impacts. Environmental standards are only going to get tougher.

A common theme was that forestry was going to have huge impact in off-setting emissions. When examining this we have to be careful as some opinions explore that there is not enough land in New Zealand for this to occur fully or at the current rate that it is happening.

Some of my recommendations for farmers integrating forestry into their farming systems indicates it to be worthwhile diversification, but through my research it is clear that it is key for farmers to achieve the best results they must get the correct advice from professional consultants right from the start on plantings and schemes.

With the latest Climate Commission draft we are seeing more changes with environmental responsibility and if a farmer can off-set their own carbon use it will put them ahead of the legislation, whilst also offering tax saves and including a new revenue stream.

Read Trypehna’s full report here:

The benefits of carbon farming inclusion into pastoral farming.

How do we successfully manage multicultural teams in the agriculture sector?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

The agriculture industry has grown from early Maori, the first settlers in the 1800s through to our second largest export (pre COVID-19). Due to the growth in the industry, roles have been created that cannot be filled by New Zealanders because of a skill shortage. To solve this problem, many businesses now employ migrant staff, from all over the world, to help them run their operations.

New Zealand has a reputation for being naturally beautiful, a safe place to live and work and bring up a family. Ranking 11th in the 2019 Future Brand Country Index (FCI), which is done every five years, put New Zealand in an excellent position. Quality of life and wellbeing of citizens in New Zealand was a key factor in the ranking. We can live up to the reputation where New Zealand is seen to be a great place to both work and live by taking the time to understand people (and their cultures) who migrate here to work and making a conscious effort to acknowledge this when they start employment.

The focus of this report is to understand the management of multicultural teams in New Zealand agriculture. The history of New Zealand agriculture has been researched with key moments reflected upon to tell the story of where the industry has come from and what the current situation is. The contribution migrants make in terms of the workforce and benefits to the New Zealand economy will be mentioned. Reports based around migrant exploitation will be delved into with some examples from various sources added. With migrant employees now playing a critical role in the production of our agriculture products it is crucial that employers have the knowledge to manage multicultural teams effectively. Culture and cultural diversity will be discussed with cultural differences and management styles explored alongside a survey, undertaken for this report, to support the recommendations.

The main findings from this report include the need for migrant staff to be part of our teams to produce our food products for the world. The characteristics of migrant staff are discussed and multicultural teams in agricultural evaluated along with how to have strong multicultural teams. Each of these points are supported with examples from the surveys and interviews conducted as part of this report.

Recommendations from this report include sharing the story of New Zealand agriculture and the importance of migrant staff, being aware of the various reports around migrant employee exploitation and improving processes and practices to ensure everyone working in New Zealand has the same rights with those employers that do not do this being held accountable, providing employers with education to up-skill themselves on how to have culturally revealing conversations with their staff and continue to gather data around managing multicultural teams in the agriculture industry to provide further insight.

Read Megan’s full report here:

How do we successfully manage multicultural teams in the agricultural sector.