In 2014, aged 21, Zoe Jackson took a huge opportunity to move from England to New Zealand to “try out” a year in the dairy industry. She was at the end of two years of university, studying a degree in Animal Science and taking a placement year before completing a final study year and graduating.
The leap to New Zealand came around when Zoe was a successful applicant of a scholarship, set up by a UK charity called The Rich Wigram NZ Farming Scholarship. The scholarship provided her with flights and the support she needed to do something adventurous on her placement year. "I'm not known for doing things by half"!
Zoe moved to a dairy farm in Rakaia in the South Island. She lived in a little shack and shared kitchen and bathroom facilities with four guys, working alongside a team of nine. After a year spent as a dairy assistant, the manager offered her a calf rearing job on another farm. After a lot of deliberating, as she had always said she would go back and finish her degree in England, she took the opportunity.
Shortly after starting on the 700 cow farm located just our of Hinds, the 2IC decided it wasn’t for him and left. The vacant position was offered to Zoe. "Whilst I had all the enthusiasm, I had little experience to be stepping up so quickly, but the manager was prepared to take a chance, and like I said, I don’t do things by half."
Zoe took all of these opportunities in her stride and is still on this farm today. "The task was hard, it was a brand new conversion which had many of its own challenges, as well as my boss training me in the essential areas of the job. Again, I still intended to return to England. But here I am; still in New Zealand, 3 years later".
Zoe is confident she made the right decision, she loves everything about her job, the challenges as well as all the rewards. "I am looking forward to this year being able to milk the heifers that I have raised from birth and continue to better myself and my skills along the way. I have a lot of people to thank for how far I have come and I am proud to say I work in the New Zealand agricultural sector."
We are proud to have you in our AgWomen community Zoe and the New Zealand agricultural sector is lucky to have you!