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Career in Dairy Farming
India lives in her villages. Over 72 per cent of our population is rural and 60 per cent is engaged in agriculture. About 70 million farm families, one out of every two rural households, is involved in dairying.
Dairy farming is a class of agricultural, or more properly, an animal husbandry enterprise, raising female cattle, goats, or certain other lactating livestock for long-term production of milk, for processing and retail.
Most dairy farms sell the male calves borne by their cows, usually for veal production, rather than raising non-milk-producing stock. Dairy farming includes breeding and care of milk yielding cattle, procuring milk and processing of milk into a variety of dairy products.
The most important statistic in Indian milk production is that 70 percent of milk comes from small/marginal/landless farmers. In India, cows are more equitably distributed than cultivation of land.
Dairying has played a prominent role in strengthening India’s rural economy. It has been recognized as an instrument to bring about socio-economic transformation. A symbiotic relationship exists between agriculture and dairy farming.
The agricultural byproducts provide feed and fodder for the cattle, whereas cattle provides necessary power for various agricultural operations, besides nutritional security and ready cash to farming families from sale of surplus milk.
The dairy industry produces a range of milk products- milk, butter, cheese, ghee, condensed milk, powdered milk, yoghurt, etc. while providing raw material for many other industries. India, which enjoys a location advantage, in the international market, is the largest producer of milk and the second largest producer of milk products in the world. Incidentally, India is the lowest cost producer of milk per litre in the world at 27 cents (vs 63 cents in the USA and $2.8 in Japan). If the present trend continues, like the mineral water industry, the milk processing industry is poised for exponential growth.
With production expected to triple in the next 10 years, India will easily emerge as the world’s leading producer of milk products.
Job opportunities exist in both government and non-government sectors. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), a multi-locational organization involved in planning, implementing, financing and supporting farmer-owned professionally agri-business enterprises is the core PSU in this field, although with almost every state aping Amul’s ‘cooperative’ success, employment opportunities have increased manifold for both technologists as well as managers, both in production as well as marketing.
There are now more than 400 dairy plants in the country making various types of milk products. They need good qualified and well trained personnel to run the plants efficiently. The growth of the dairy processing industry has also encouraged the indigenisation of dairy equipment. The industry has two distinct kinds of jobs : (1) equipment design and fabrication and plant design; and (2) project execution. These jobs can be performed by a dairy technologist with an aptitude in engineering.
The dairy technologists can also undertake consultancy work. A successful consultant, however, needs several years of working experience in dairy firms to understand the nitty gritty of the work. Besides opportunities for teaching and research, dairy technologists can start their own enterprises such as small-scale dairy farms and milk plants, creamery, ice-cream units.
For young people looking at a career away from the hurly-burly of urban life, this could be one of the most attractive choices available. Dairy farming includes breeding and care of milch cows and high yielding cattle, procuring milk and processing of milk into a variety of dairy products. The production process requires engineers for the maintenance of processing plants and dairy technologists for overseeing the processing of milk products. Breeding and care of cattle is generally the work of Veterinary Scientists.
Dairy technologists work in procuring milk from rural based small dairy farmers or as supervisors in large dairies, monitoring the procurement and collection process. Marketing of the dairy products is handled by marketing and sales professionals.
Where to train :
Various Universities and Institutes in the country offer courses in Dairy Science/technology or even Diploma.
Specialization is offered at the Master’s level – dairy technology, dairy chemistry, dairy microbiology, dairy engineering, dairy extension education, food technology, genetics and breeding, dairy quality control, animal biotechnology, livestock production and management, dairy production and many others.
Diploma courses are also offered at some universities. The National Dairy Research Institute, Southern Regional Station, Bangalore, offers a two-year diploma in dairy technology.
Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi, is also imparting knowledge and technical proficiency in dairy farm management practices, animal healthcare, fodder production and clean milk production.