What Skills Do You Need To Become A Dairy Farmer?

By Dairy Farming Hut

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There is an appeal to a dairy farm that we can't deny. We definitely underrated the simple and peaceful life of a dairy farmer with his or her animals in today's fast-paced societies. But, what exactly are the skills and qualifications to be a dairy farmer?

To become a Dairy Farmer, you would need a basic knowledge of the animals you're working with, understand how milking an animal works, and some skills and capabilities in business and accounting. There are other, more practical skills you can have, and you can learn and develop these skills along the way.

Let's expound on these requirements a little more to show you just how few barriers there are between you and the dairy farm. In this article, we'll specify all the skills, traits, and education you'll need to become a dairy farmer.

What are the Skills Needed to be a Dairy Farmer?

When becoming a dairy farmer, there are some skills necessary to handle life on the farm and operate an agribusiness. These skills can be learned on your own or gained through various training programs. Instead of starting entirely from scratch, having these skills will make dairy farming a lot easier for you.

  • Knowledge of the animals you're working with. It goes without saying that as a dairy farmer, you'll be working with animals. Knowing about the anatomy and character of the animals will help you understand how to deal with them. This also includes having information about what animals go through during their lactation period and knowledge about animal hygiene and safety.
  • Knowledge about dairy science. More goes into producing milk than people realize. The kind of feed the animals eat, their stress levels, and the environment in which they are raised all affect the milk that'll be produced. A good understanding of dairy science will be valuable for getting better quality milk and managing milk production issues.
  • Ability to handle different types of machinery. Milking and caring for animals takes a lot of work. Luckily, there are machines and equipment that make the job a little easier and more efficient. It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with these types of equipment and even better if you know how to operate them.
  • Knowledge about agribusiness. Operating a dairy farm is a business, and a dairy farmer needs to understand the workings of the dairy industry.
  • Accounting and business skills. Dairy farmers need to have basic farm accounting skills, as there is a regular cash flow in the dairy industry. Even if the dairy operation is on a smaller scale, the knowledge and skills required for running an enterprise are needed to run the business productively. This can also help in making critical business decisions.
  • Multi-tasking capabilities. Among other skills that a dairy farmer should have, one of the most important is the ability to multi-task without getting flustered. Farmlife can be pretty hectic, physically and mentally as well. You need to get comfortable doing different things at the same time.

What are Outstanding Character Traits to have as a Dairy Farmer?

Some character traits are more conducive to life as a dairy farmer than others. If you boast the following qualities, you will make for a great dairy farmer:


The rewards of dairy farming come at fixed periods of the year. In between those times, you'll be doing a lot of time-consuming work and, after a while, it can start to get repetitive. Being patient and trusting the process is a dairy farmer's greatest quality and key to success.


Even in the agriculture and livestock industry, there are constant changes. Changes in laws, the emergence of new technology, and new practices can be overwhelming. This means that you need to be aware of the changes, switch gears, and quickly respond to the changing trends.

Love and Care for Animals

Compassion and wellbeing of animals is an important trait of a dairy farmer. You always need to ensure their safety, cleanliness, and general happiness. People are more inclined to get milk from a dairy farm that treats its animals well than a farm that sees its animals as nothing but a means to an end.


Dairy farming is a labor intensive industry. If you're one to shy away from hard work, then maybe dairy farming isn't for you.

Do You need to go to a School to become a Dairy Farmer?

The brief answer is no. Most of the dairy farms are family-run operations and pass the trade down from generation to generation. Many dairy farms are also willing to train those who want to be dairy farmers but have no prior experience. In that regard, previous experience or a degree is not necessary to begin working on a dairy farm.

Some universities offer courses that can be excellent for a dairy farmer education, though. Education in dairy science, agribusiness, and animal husbandry are undoubtedly beneficial for giving you the knowledge and confidence to run your own farm one day effectively. 

Plus, there are many online training programs and courses that you can take to help you perform dairy farming tasks. Though not always part of dairy farmer qualifications, taking at least a few of these lessons can make life on a dairy farm go much smoother.

Is it Hard to become a Dairy Farmer?

Yes, and no. Dairy farming is no walk in the park and is certainly not a profession that is for everyone. That being said, if you love what you do and get really good at it, then dairy farming won't be hard for you at all.

Just consider that a lot of dairy farmers love the life they lead and wouldn't trade it in for anything in the world. Few people can say the same about their jobs in this day and age.


Dairy farmer is a gratifying and fulfilling job. You can become a dairy farmer with little to no formal education, but it is better to get some training in dairy production and farm work if you don't have any prior experience in this industry. The dairy farm operation is not just milking the cows, but it also involves other tasks such as maintaining equipment and tools, farm hygiene, looking after sick animals and preparing other dairy products such as cheese and butter. There are several other duties and roles on a dairy farm depending on the farm type and size. 

We certainly hope this article answered most, if not all, of your questions and dispelled some misconceptions about what it takes to be a dairy farmer.

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