Women dairy farmers in Mahurangi will now be able to get technical advice and support from their own branch of the Women’s Dairy Network.
Tomarata share-milker Sheila Russell has joined forces with Kaiwaka dairy farmer Pia Rockell to bring the teaching initiative to Mahurangi.
Sheila manages 430 cows on 190ha and says having a local branch will be a huge boost.
“The nearest groups used to be in Whangarei or Dargaville. Far more women in the dairy industry across our region will now be able to get help and support,” Sheila says.
Sheila first started dairy farming with her husband 10 years ago, but gave up a career in teaching and went full-time on the farm in 2008.
“It’s been a long process and a huge transition. I was a geography teacher in London before I came to New Zealand. There are plenty of other women like me who are married to dairy farmers and are taking a greater role in running the business.”
The Dairy Women’s Network was started in 1998 to help, advise, support and develop the increasing number of women in the industry.
The regional group’s first event was a mastitis workshop at the Wellsford Community Centre on November 30.
Sheila says the social and supportive side of the initiative is crucial.
“It’s full-on job for most of the year and it’s important to look after our well-being, particularly with the dairy industry struggling.”