Principal Instructor Tony Russell in the OCF Dairy ShedInstructors and prisoners who work on the dairy farm at Otago Corrections Facility (OCF) were thrilled when Fonterra recognised the efforts of their learning and labours this week.

The dairy farm received a certificate of achievement from Fonterra recognising its low somatic cell count (SCC). SCC is a measure of the quality or purity of the milk supplied.

The farm was ranked 137th out of over 10,000 suppliers and finished in the top one percentile of farms that supply Fonterra.

“This is a significant achievement for the prisoners working on the farm, the farm team and the prison as a whole,” says OCF Principal Instructor Dairy, Tony Russell.

“We are a training farm for prisoners, teaching offenders employable skills that they can use to maintain a crime free life on release.”

Over the past five to six seasons, staff at the prison have put a considerable amount of work into the dairy skills of the men on the farm and the stock programme.

“Most of the work on the farm is being done by a group of around five prisoners , many of whom have had nothing to do with farming of any sort before,” says Tony.

Acting Prison Director Lyndal Miles says the whole site is incredibly proud of this achievement.

“We are all delighted that Fonterra has recognised their work as an outstanding result reflecting excellence in animal health practices and ongoing commitment to milk quality,” says Lyndal.

“The recognition is a testament to the systems in place on the farm, the level of training that the prisoners receive, and the prisoner farm workers’ commitment to what the farm is trying to achieve,” says Tony.

“We’re very proud of both the workers and staff and have laminated and made copies of the certificate for them,” says Tony. “Hopefully having this achievement on the prisoners’ CV will help their job prospects when they are released.”

“Research shows strong links between employment and people maintaining a crime free life. Through our prison programmes, Corrections is giving people employable skills and work aptitudes.  We’re keen to find opportunities with employers who are willing to offer a second chance that turns potential into real change,” says Lyndal.