“Sino ba naman ‘yung ayaw magkaroon ng magandang future? And when it comes to New Zealand sa isip-isip natin green na green, walang mga masasamang tao, walang polusyon. And napatunayan naman namin na totoo talaga iyon,” dairy farmer Jennifer Abobo told Summit OG.
New Zealand, commonly known as "God's own nation" and the "Paradise of the Pacific," is a country in the southern hemisphere to the east of Australia that attracts a large number of visitors and employees each year.
And turns out, dairy farming is a significant industry in New Zealand, and it's the country's largest export. They have nearly as many dairy cows as there are people. Abobo and her boyfriend turned fiancé came to work in New Zealand as dairy farmers back in 2015.
“Noong nasa Pilipinas pa ako parang wala talaga akong patutunguhan. Kung baga hindi ko alam ang aking gustong tahakin sa future,” Abobo shared. “Pero may boyfriend ako na kasama ko na dito and fiancé ko na, nakahanap siya ng employer sa New Zealand, and then yung employer niya nag-ask sakaniya kung gusto niyang isama yung family niya, sinabi niya na may girlfriend siya that time so ayun kinuha rin ako ng employer niya.”
The journey there wasn’t easy, it took them over 700 applications before their present company responded and hired them. After graduating with a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree, traveling overseas, and returning home dejected, Abobo stated that the path to dairy farming in New Zealand seemed right for her.
“Blessed talaga kami. Wala po talaga akong kumbaga experience sa farming. Hindi talaga ako nag work ng pormal na trabaho, business lang po yung ginagawa ko dati…Noong nagpunta ako dito sa New Zealand, parang ito na talaga yung linya for me,” she expressed.
With a working area of about 290 hectares, they quickly realized that farms in the countryside are highly secluded.
Abobo emphasized how different it was working in the Philippines compared to NZ. She detailed her struggles operating machinery, driving tractors, waking up at the crack of dawn, dealing with aggressive cows, and working long hours.
“Nagigising kami during busy months ng mga 3 a.m., tapos [around] 14 to 16 hours yung trabaho namin a day, so doon ako nag-adjust, and then through time naman parang nasanay na rin kami at hindi na siya ganoon kahirap for us.”
They also had a hard time dealing with sick cows, she noted: “Kalaunan masasanay ka na rin, through time alam mo na talaga yung gagawin mo.”
“Alam na alam na alam na talaga namin yung trabaho namin, hindi na namin kailangan ng utos ng amo namin. Iyon ‘yung proudest moment namin kasi imagine hindi ako graduate ng agriculture. It’s very fulfilling.”
She mentioned that the amount of money she makes is determined by where you work and your skill set.
Abobo discovered her calling by documenting her work and sharing it on Youtube and TikTok, where she inspires thousands of people (especially women!) to work hard and believe in themselves.
Are you looking for a career in New Zealand's dairy industry? Allow Jennifer Abobo to take you through a day in the life of a dairy farmer.
WATCH: A Filipina Shares What It's Like Being a Dairy Farmer in New Zealand
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