Finding your vocation

Review and reflection is key to how we farm at Holy Goat. We review, reflect and then make well considered change. From the small (how best to sweep the dairy) to the large (implementing a new milking line, or installing a triiion to convert from 2 phase to 3 phase power) making a change on the farm for us is positive and part of a bigger picture.

Over time we’ve made big changes in the dairy, the cheese room and the paddocks that have improved the care and quality of both our herd, our people and our cheese. More of our land is being planted out to trees and understorey for fodder, fuel and habitat. We’ve also improved efficiencies. Now we are looking to human-centred change.

Farming is physically and mentally demanding, it requires long hours and unlike other occupations, is strongly dictated by the seasons (which in Central Victoria means long hot, dry summers and literally freezing winter mornings). A typical work day for us would start at six in the morning and finish at six the other end. There is more than likely some unscheduled or untimetabled work outside of those hours, too. We love farming and we love our farm, but we just don’t think those hours are always sustainable. We’d like to have an ‘average’ workday, as would our staff. (Not that we ever stop thinking about farming, or goats, or cheese!).

Changes to our own worklife open up opportunities for others. Having a dedicated afternoon milker who takes on the latter part of the day is something we are considering at the moment. The role would require someone, who, just like our current staff at Holy Goat, puts the animals first and foremost, gets to know the goats inside and out, and can also manage the mechanics of milking. Connection to the cheese room would also be an important part of this role.

We reckon there is the talent and skills resident in Australia (though we really do appreciate the skills and enthusiasm our French interns bring to the farm). Plus we provide a pretty unique opportunity for training, learning and support that’s rare to find. Our connections with specialists like cheese technician Ivan Larcher and Obsalim creator and trainer Bruno Giboudeau enable us to delve into aspects of animal husbandry and cheesemaking that few other farms offer. You can learn more about poo cakes, pH and titrations than you ever thought possible! Our natural animal treatments and work with Obsalim are quite unique to Australia.

We aren’t employing right now, but we are looking forward, reflecting on what the farm’s workforce needs are and will be, and how we might best address them.

We are looking for a pretty special person, not necessarily experienced in dairy farming or dairy goat herds – obviously a link with the land and the physical workings of it will be very desirable – but most important is an approach and way of thinking that fits with our team, our farming values and cheesemaking techniques. Being able to learn to understand the herd, the milk and the cheese in a way that’s beyond textbook. Although we value the textbook too. The way we think about and run our herd and make our cheeses is more than a management system. It’s a mindset. We’re looking for people with a similar mindset and certainly not looking to be a traditional dairy farmer, or follow conventional dairy systems. Also someone with capacity for physical work and, at times, true grit!

Someone who just ‘wants a job’ on our farm, isn’t going to work here because organic dairy farming and cheesemaking is more a vocation than a job. We won’t ask you to don the wimple or forsake creature comforts, but we will ask you to be alert to the life of the goats…. and to read our blogs to understand more about how and why we farm the way we do.

We are not currently hiring, but if you can picture yourself working together with us and our staff, please email your resume to holygoatcheese@me.com. We will keep it on file and forward application details, when appropriate..

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