Thursday, June 13, 2024

Income report shows farm life is the good life

Average growth of 13% in pay packages in the last two years is another reason for more New Zealanders to consider a career in agriculture, Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said today.

The 2022 Federated Farmers-Rabobank Farm Remuneration Report, released today, found that since the 2019/2020 survey, weighted average incomes in the dairy sector have grown 15% to a ‘total package’ average value of $67,251.

The report found wages are up 14%, to an average of $66,859, in the sheep & beef sector; and up 7% in arable (to $68,618).

“Our survey shows that on top of wages adding in other factors that make up the total value of remuneration packages for farm staff, such as accommodation, meat, firewood and KiwiSaver, there’s several thousand dollars of extra value to workers across all the sectors,” Mr Hoggard says.

“In towns and cities, big chunks of workers’ income are swallowed by accommodation costs. But in our dairy sector 75% of employers provide accommodation for staff (61% sheep/beef; 41% arable), with the average accommodation cost per week being $157-$187.”

The survey, carried out by independent firm Research First, is based on responses from 729 employers/farm sector businesses of all sizes, covering a total of more than 2,200 employees.

“So, as well as job security in a sector that has ploughed ahead through tough COVID times as the engine room of our economy, plus the satisfaction of working outdoors and growing quality food for families here and in scores of other countries, the survey makes clear there are solid pay packages available,” Mr Hoggard says.

He said the total value of the remuneration package for a dairy operations manager has jumped 25% to an average $107,593 and a sheep/beef stock manager is earning an average 18% more in wages and add-ons for a total average of $78,076.

“Farm businesses have clearly moved to stay competitive in a tight labour market, and to reward staff. That has been even more important with the pandemic disrupting availability of international workers.”

The Feds-Rabobank survey also showed that across the sector, average reported hours worked fell below the International Labour Organisation recommended maximum standard working time of 48 hours per week (for full-timers – dairy 47.2 hours, sheep/beef 44.8, arable 46.2).

Rabobank New Zealand CEO, Todd Charteris said the 2022 report is the 13th report the bank has developed in conjunction with Federated Farmers since the partnership began in 2008.

“In addition to data on farm salaries and total package values, the report also provides a host of useful information related to on-farm positions across the dairy, sheep & beef and arable sectors,” he said.

“We’re really proud to partner with Federated Farmers to produce this report which both employers and employees can use as a reference to help guide remuneration discussions.”

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