Meet Dayna Rowe, Our Lighthouse Farmer
At 23, Dayna Rowe manages the family’s 930-cow dairy farm at Pongakawa and is already making a name for herself with some top industry awards to her name.
An academic achiever with a passion for acting and dancing, Dayna began studying performing arts at Victoria University. It was during a university break when she needed a summer job that she started working for her father’s contract milker, spraying weeds, doing farm walks and milking cows.“During that summer one of the staff members left and I had fallen in love with being outside every day back on the farm, so when I was offered a fulltime job, I took it and never went back to university,” she says.
Since her start at 19 as a dairy assistant, then moving into herd management at 20/21 and managing the family farm by 22, it’s been a swift rise in the ranks, but Dayna says she's had to work extra hard to prove she deserves to be taken seriously.
As a young woman in the dairy industry, Dayna has experienced unfair wage gaps, sexism, discrimination and bullying. " I've also received a lot of great support from awesome people in the industry who have encouraged me to use the challenges to grow and succeed," she says. “Our industry is hungry for intelligent, driven individuals now more than ever, and we are seeing a big shift in farm owners wanting to employ women on farm as we are beginning to be seen as an asset.”
Coming into her stride since being named Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, and Runner up New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards this year, Dayna has been learning about how she can develop her interests in environmental conservation and sustainable dairying. Dayna is proud of how Rowe Farm has grown and developed over the years in a sustainable way.
Rowe Farm is one of 15 Lighthouse Farms involved with the Wai Kōkopu programme in a workstream involving the delivery of 15 pilot Lighthouse Farm Plans from leading farmers in the catchment. “I plan to continue to be open-minded about what we can achieve and to help encourage people to be part of the solution. I’m excited for future generations of dairy farmers in New Zealand ― we’re extremely capable of facilitating conversations between the right parties to create a more cohesive plan for sustainable dairying.”