Janet Schultz is Vice Dairy chair of Federated Farmers Taranaki and a dairy farmer in her own right. Janet had an unconventional entry into dairy farming. She was a successful hairdresser, at the time #2 in Taranaki for sculptured cuts. Husband Gary, and her, were having trouble starting a family so Janet looked for a challenge to take her mind off things, when a lease came up on a dairy farm she jumped at the chance.
Janet grew up on a dairy farm, before her father passed, and Gary was from a Sheep and Beef farm, so they decided between them they would have enough skills to get them through. Change was good, the couple were soon blessed with two children, Kelsey and Brody. Things were ticking along nicely until their family was involved in a tragic 100km head on collision. Gary was killed as a result of the accident, and things were extremely tough for awhile.
Today, Janet has shifted, & expanded the dairy farm from 120 cows to 280 cows. Janet runs the farm alongside her son-in-law Matt, but also spends a lot of time outside of the farm being part of Federated Farmers and working at the Stratford Sale Yards. "I got involved with Federated Farmers after someone told me 'you have a brain, so use it'. Janet has had a major role to play in changing thinking and practice around bobby calf treatment and welfare, as well as public perception. "My biggest project so far has been regarding new rules and regulations around bobby calf welfare. Over the last few months I have been busy speaking at roadshows in Taranaki about new collection pen designs, and fielding questions from concerned farmers. This has not always been easy as some farmers resist change, but I do it as there is a need for it and I want there to be a better public perception about how we treat all animals in our business."
Janet is part of the dairy industry because she has a passion for it, it is in her DNA and it challenges her everyday. She has found it to be a very rewarding career. Janet, you and your family have been through a lot. In saying that you have also achieved so much. You must be very proud of where you are today, we know we are super proud to have you as an AgWomen!