Dairy farmers across Victoria are continuing to grapple with labour shortages which have left some with no choice but to cut herd numbers.
Nambrok dairy farm manager Jasmine Freebone said the lack of supply of labour was even a "compounding" factor for some leaving the sector altogether.
Ms Freebone, who is also the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) policy representative for Gippsland, said more needs to be done to increase the flow of labour into rural areas.
"A lot of people will end up reducing numbers," she said.
"A lot of people have gotten out of it because they can't get staff, they didn't have that work life balance and they had to make a decision.
"I'm sure that's not the only reason but it would have been a compounding factor in why they gave up."
VFF president Bernie Free agreed with Ms Freebone and warned if labour shortages continue, many dairy farmers will have to jump ship.
"Everybody is still having issues getting suitable staff," he said.
"A lot of people are milking a few less cows to take the pressure off so the farm isn't being run on a full stocking rate."
Ms Freebone said to increase labour supply, more needs to be done to highlight the career opportunities within the broader dairy industry.
"I think the big issue is people don't believe there's any career progression in dairying - there certainly is," she said.
"On some farms, you kind of get stuck in the dairy, especially on family farms but as an industry, there's a lot of progression and I don't think people realise that.
"I think we need to get the message out there that if you want something beyond a dairy farm, there's other jobs in the industry."
The Nambrok dairy farmer said that there are also many transferable skills which can be acquired by labourers in the dairying.
"Time management is really big on dairy farms as cows want to be milked at the same time every day," she said.
"If you come here and you learn nothing except good time management skills, you've got that forever no matter what you end up doing."
Mr Free said the dairy sector has become more and more innovative in recent years and that there were careers across the industry in science, business and management.
"The possibilities for your career are endless," he said.
"In the dairy industry, we're still looking for more people to come into that space."
Ms Freebone also said that the fall in number of backpackers during and since the pandemic has been felt badly on dairy farms.
"I think they fill a gap but not everybody uses them," she said.
"Some people have their preferences - some people love them, some people only use backpackers.
"They left a gap that I think was very sorely felt but we're starting to see some trickle back in now.
"I've seen quite a few looking for work so they're starting to come back now but for a long time, I think that really hurt people, not having them there."
Ms Freebone said the government needs to do more on rural housing, transport and education to encourage young people to live and work outside of urban centres.
"I think a lot could be done on just getting people here, getting people to want to come and work out here and have them not thinking they're throwing their life away by working in the countryside," she said.
"There needs to be opportunities for education too.
"If you come out here, can your partner still go to university? Is your partner going to be able to find work?
"A lot of people can't get rentals out here, there's nothing.
"The waiting lists mean they don't bother."
Both Ms Freebone and Mr Free said that the dairy industry has its own work to do on improving the remuneration incentive for people to come work on farms.
"We need to be a bit more innovative in how we encourage staff to stay longer," Mr Free said.
Moyarra dairy farmer Brian Corr said he has leased some of his cows to his farm manager as a means of incentivising his commitment to the farm, beyond an annual salary.
He said if other dairy farmers want to keep the right staff, more incentives like this have to be put in place.
Ms Freebone said that the labour shortage issue was only getting worse and that it represented a significant threat to Victoria's dairy sector.