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First deer farmer training course next month

Media release
25 March 2014

Getting your deer farming ticket

Getting trained in how to manage and handle farmed deer is going to be a lot easier.

“For several years training opportunities have been very limited, so a 12 month level 3 training course has been developed to fill the gap,” says Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) Producer Manager, Tony Pearse.

A pilot block course is being held at Netherdale Deer Stud, Balfour, Southland, on 9 April. This will be followed by one in South Canterbury in the spring. Thereafter, Pearse says there will be courses in both islands in response to what is hoped will be growing demand.

The course is being managed by the Primary ITO and presented by Agribusiness Training Ltd, with assistance from DINZ staff, leading deer farmers and veterinarians. It will provide the theoretical and practical knowledge that people who are working on farms need to farm deer safely, efficiently and profitably. Those who complete it will come away with a NZ Certificate in Agriculture (Livestock Husbandry, Deer).

About 70 per cent of the national deer herd is farmed on commercial sheep and beef farms and in some regions – especially in the high country of both islands – the majority of farms have deer. In addition, there are many farms that have previously farmed deer and which could do so again, in response to changing market conditions.

To kick each course off, there will be a 3-day block training course, followed by a second course six months later. The block courses will include formal tuition in deer behaviour, nutrition, breeding and genetics, deer health and management, visits to top deer farms and hands-on experience with deer. Participants will then be able to apply what they have learned while working on a deer farm where they will be assessed by a visiting Primary ITO tutor. The on-farm assessments will make up about 80% of the course requirements.

Because DINZ and the Deer Farmers Association see training as a priority, block course fees will be supported in part (60%) by sponsorship from local DFA branches and other deer industry organisations and service companies. Improved training opportunities were identified as a priority by the Motivate deer industry group.


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