Operations manager

As operations manager you’ll be responsible for ensuring the business runs efficiently and that all parts are working towards achieving goals and targets. You’ll have sound financial, strategic and farm system capabilities.


Operations managers are in charge of farm management and often responsible for planning, reviewing, executing and reporting against the overall business goals.


You’ll develop, implements and monitors policies for feeding, including cropping, pasture (management and renovation) and supplement.


You’ll set milking policy, with the aim of driving efficient work routine, and production. You’ll develop and communicate the milk harvesting policy for the farm; and monitor and analyse milk production results and milk quality, and takes appropriate actions.

Animal health

You’ll set a health, calving and mating plan, and evaluates outcomes and take appropriate action.


You are responsible for wages, recruitment, employment law and liable for any legal oversight.


You’ll set, manage and monitor environmental and effluent management plans.


You can identify key risks to the business, sets business performance targets and goals; and analyse benchmarking results to improve farm performance.

Career story

Dairy farming is many jobs.

Athol New | Operations Manager

“My future is with large, corporate farms where the career opportunities through the scale of the operations are great.”




Operations managers are often associated with a large-scale dairy farming business that have a number of farms.

Operational roles are strategic in nature and are directly responsible for returning farm/shareholder profits and ascertaining long term farm viability.

Work experience

With over five years’ on-farm experience, having worked effectively as farm manager, you will have gained expertise in all the required elements needed for productive farm management.

You will also have considerable experience in managing staff, and be able to communicate effectively at all levels of the business.

Training and study

The following formal and informal training is additional to the experience you’ve gained and training and study you might complete in a previous roles.


Polytechnics: Wintec, Ara, EIT, SIT, Toi Ohomai

  • Diploma in Agribusiness Management – HR Module
  • Resource Management & Planning Module
  • Business Financial Planning and Management Module
  • Mastitis Management
  • Effluent Management Planning
  • Farmers as Trainers


  • BAgSci, B Ag, BVetSci, BCom
  • AgriOne Short Courses
  • Tactical Risk Management
  • Farming Systems
  • Precision Dairying



  • Online Discussion Group
  • Regional Groups
  • Annual Conference
  • Financial Capability
  • Water Efficiency on farm
  • Building your Team Webinar
  • Dairy Days DVDs

    Next steps

    Given the high level of skills and experience needed, it is not unusual for many operations managers to move straight to farm ownership.

    Job searches

    Ask around or approach a farm. Check out DairyNZ, Farm Source jobs, Trade Me jobs, Seek or Indeed.


    Earn while you learn. Be part of your local farming community with Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy.

    Get a mentor

    A mentor is someone already working or familiar with the career you choose; someone you respect and can use as a sounding board for your ideas.


    NZ Young Farmers is a progressive and dynamic social network for rural youth. Dairy Women’s Network is a vibrant community of women.

    Got a question? Contact us

    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.