Agricultural – Dairy Herdsperson
Milk and foods that come from it are important parts of many people’s diet. If you eat cereal with milk every morning or have cheese on your sandwiches, you need the work that dairy herders do. This job is very important for helping to provide people with the nutrition and varied diet that they need.
For most people, milk comes in plastic jugs or paper cartons, and cheese and butter come in packages ready to slice or to spread on toast. It can be hard to realize that these dairy products originally came from cows on farms and that someone had to take care of the cattle. That’s where the work of a dairy herder becomes important.
The work of a dairy herder can vary a lot throughout the year. Generally, cattle eat grass and other plants in fields in summer, and a herder’s job would be to take the animals out to a field and to make sure that the field still has enough food for them to eat. If most of the grass is gone or if the plants have a disease, the herder should move the cattle to another spot and try to deal with the problem in the field if possible.
In most parts of Canada, the weather is too cold for grass to grow in winter. Instead, herders feed the cattle with hay and other food stored in barns. Making sure that there is enough water for the animals is also very important. Herders might also help deliver the calves in spring and make sure that the cattle have the right vaccinations to protect them against diseases.
Depending on the size of the farm and the number of cattle, herders might have very general or quite specialized jobs. Herders might help with milking the cows in some cases, especially on small farms. They should be able to follow instructions for treating sick animals and be able to deal with minor problems themselves. Being able to operate farm machinery like tractors can also be helpful.
The basic education for a dairy herder is a high school diploma, but some employers require a post-secondary education in an area like agriculture or mechanics. Most universities have three- or four-year degrees in subjects like agriculture. Trade schools and community colleges often have courses that could be helpful.
Salaries for dairy herders depends on the size of the farm or ranch, what other duties are required, and other factors. In general, however, dairy herders earn between $18 and $28 per hour, or between about $22,000 and $36,000 per year. The job involves physical labour in all kinds of weather, and it can require quite a lot of strength, especially when helping with calving. Cattle can also be dangerous if they become angry or frightened.
The most likely places for people to get jobs as dairy herders is in areas with huge open spaces. The prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are good places to try, but other areas of the country also have jobs for dairy herders. If you like farm animals, the job of dairy herder is a good choice.
Indeed.ca. “Cattle Herdsman—Grain Supervisor.” https://ca.indeed.com/viewjob?cmp=F%26F-Hudon-Farms-Ltd.&t=Cattle+Herdsman+Grain+Supervisor&jk=21a4d09f25aa6e76&sjdu=vQIlM60yK_PwYat7ToXhk4ZTHug3yZN3_PPfLdD3tBRHc6Gc7vPB5rSoArdKtfvjxYynHZM-4uARKn7BrcpvTEfOSaDeG7Pk0Yg2RQWLYyQ&tk=1dp0r7h2r350u001&adid=269226970&pub=4a1b367933fd867b19b072952f68dceb&vjs=3.
Indeed.com. “Dairy Herdsman Jobs in Western Canada.” https://ca.indeed.com/Dairy-Herdsman-jobs-in-western-canada.
Neuvoo. “Dairy Farm Worker.” https://neuvoo.ca/salary/?job=dairy+farm+worker.
Tukeli, Kent. “Cattle Herd Management Job Description.”