Since winning the 2023 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year award at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Natasha Price’s life has changed quite a bit.
She finished up her job in Morrinsville in June and moved to England with her partner to start her OE.
“We have been working on a 300 cow autumn calving dairy farm since August and are loving the experience. We’ve done one calving and now are nearly finished with the mating season. We’ve farmed in snow and had frozen milking cups but are loving the challenge of learning a new system of farming. “
Besides moving across to the other side of the world, Natasha has made some incredible achievements over the past 12 months. “I completed my ITO level 3 qualification before leaving for England. I also have applied some of the skills I learnt throughout the dairy awards such as goal planning and CV building to earn myself a job in England with progressive employers. I have also gained a great deal of confidence in myself and my career plan.”
Over the past 12 months, Natasha says she has learnt a lot. “The biggest takeaway from the dairy awards for me was the importance of networking and building connections in the industry. Since starting my job in England, I have expanded on my calf-rearing and AI knowledge. Our employers Sarah and Duncan have allowed both my partner and myself to sit in on-farm meetings with a nutritionist. They also have invited us in to learn the business side of the farm and we even have a book club where we read business books and relate them back to farming such as The Diary of a CEO and The Lean Dairy Farmer.”
When asked about Natasha’s strengths she says, “I would say personally my major strength that has changed over the last 12 months is the growth in my confidence since entering the dairy awards. This has helped me set off on my OE and still be able to grow my farming career while doing so.
“Another strength is my willingness to learn. I think there’s so much new knowledge coming into the industry all the time and you need to be willing to adapt to it.”
Due to having moved across to the other side of the world, Natasha says “My biggest weakness right now is missing my family, friends and NZ. I’ve found that farming in England has given me a new perspective on how good we’ve got it in NZ in terms of our efficiency and simple trusted systems. And almost everyone I’ve met in England has either farmed in NZ before or plans to - I’ve even had one couple say they’d live in NZ permanently if it was only five hours away instead of 24 hours.
Natasha says she will not be entering this year due to not being in the country. “I will be back farming in NZ in 2025 and plan to enter the awards again when the time is right.”
When asked what makes Natasha stand out from the rest in the industry she says “I wouldn’t personally use the words ‘stand out’ but I’ve found that reputation is extremely important in the industry. So I try and get the basics right - be a good employee (show up on time, have a good attitude and be passionate). Always keep learning is a personal motto I try to live by, and by that, I try and attend as many discussion groups, farm tours and local young farmer events as possible. And this hasn’t changed since moving countries, for example, I recently attended The Positive Farmers Conference in Ireland which focuses on the ‘Grass rich and low cost’ approach to farming. They use a lot of DairyNZ research and examples from NZ farms. It’s amazing how highly regarded NZ farming is globally.”
Lastly, if Natasha were to give anyone some advice for the dairy industry, she would say, “It’s cheesy but I always advise people just starting out to enter the dairy awards. I was told you have nothing to lose and everything to gain and that’s so true. I would also suggest building your networking skills early on. It’s surprising how many great opportunities can come from having a few good connections. And lastly I would say to remember to enjoy farming. It’s a challenging career but there are special perks not many other careers have. Pat the cows every now and again and appreciate your outdoor office in the sun.”