28 Aug 2013

Expert in NZ to study dairy farming employment

12:52 pm on 28 August 2013

An American agricultural employment specialist is in New Zealand with tips for farmers on how to ensure they hire the best person for the job.

Gregorio Billikopf is a professor at the University of California.

He's working with Lincoln University to look at the expansion of dairy farming and the rapid increase in the employment of migrant labour.

In 2005, there were few migrants working in the dairy industry.

Lincoln University believes there are now about 2000 Filipinos working on dairy farms - and that the industry's expansion wouldn't have been possible without them.

Professor Billikopf says the same principles apply to farmers whether they're hiring migrants or locals - and they can make a huge difference to their business if they get the best person for the job.

He says the best employee on the farm can be four to eight times better than the worst - and he says farmers can use a range of tests to make sure they find them.

He says practical, hands-on tests prior to hiring can show whether a worker has the ability to learn new tasks.

Professor Billikopf says farmers around the world have incredible potential for improvement when it comes to their labour management.

Professor Billikopf will be giving a public talk about his ideas on Thursday between 11.30am and 1.30pm at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.