Deer farming is a great community to be part of. Deer farmers share a passion for deer as well as the spirit of innovation that has been part of the industry since its early days.
The industry may be young but already some family farms are in their third generation of deer farming.
Deer farmers come from diverse backgrounds: Pākehā and Māori, as well as people from other cultures who have chosen to make a home in Aotearoa New Zealand. Their farms range from smallholdings running modest herds of velvetting stags, through to high country stations running thousands of deer – hinds, stags and venison finishers.
Women have always played an important role in deer farming – as farm business partners, veterinarians, farm consultants and artificial breeding technicians. Today they are increasingly becoming deer farmers in their own right and assuming traditional male roles, such as shepherding.
Newcomers to the industry are encouraged to join the NZ Deer Farmers Association. Local branches are supported by industry stalwarts who are happy to share their knowledge and experience.
The welcome mat is open to everyone who shares a passion for deer farming – farm staff, deer vets, deer transport operators – you don’t actually have to own a deer farm.
Deer Industry NZ runs Advance Parties in most regions. These farmer groups hold regional workshops to share their experiences with other farmers. DINZ also runs Deer Industry Environmental Groups with a focus on helping farmers to complete their Farm Environmental Plans and to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions. About a third of all deer farms are involved in one or more of these groups.
There are always jobs and work on offer in the deer industry to people with deer training and/or experience:
- Farm consultants
- Farm managers
- Large animal veterinarians
- Livestock managers
- Pregnancy scanners
- Deer transport drivers
- Venison processors
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