Dairy farming roles

Challenge yourself, keep fit and learn wide ranging skills that can be applied across New Zealand’s largest industry.

Dairy Farming Roles

Career pathways

Over 30,000 people are employed on dairy farms by more than 12,000 farm businesses.

Your first step is likely to be as a Farm Assistant where you’ll learn the ropes and start gaining the skills needed to advance your career or start your own business.

Dairy farming career pathways


Farm Assistant



Herd Manager

Assistant Manager


Farm Manager

Operations Manager


Self-Employed Dairy Farmers

Farming pathways

School to farming

Secondary School is a great foundation for your dairy farming career. We suggest including subjects like maths, sciences, and business studies while you are there. Also ensure your IT skills are up to speed.

After leaving secondary school you can either learn on the job, or study towards a qualification while working.

Tertiary study to farming

You may wish to continue your education journey after secondary school at a polytechnic or university, many of which offer agricultural-related certificates, diplomas, or degrees. These courses provide a solid theoretical base before heading to the dairy farm and applying your practical skills.

Once farming, you can continue your development and learning on the job from other farmers, or by taking courses while you work.

About DairyNZ

DairyNZ is an organisation that, through research, events, services, education and policy, works with dairy farmers to secure and enhance the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of New Zealand dairy farming. New Zealand dairy farmers pay DairyNZ a levy to support them. Find out more at www.dairynz.co.nz.