Farmers, also known as agriculturalists, manage their land and operations allowing them to raise livestock, grow crops, fruit, or vegetables, or provide other agricultural products. They’re often self-employed, as opposed to Farm Managers who do the same job but on behalf of land owners.
If you love working outdoors and physical work, thrive on variety and challenges, then becoming a Farmer could suit you down to the ground.
- Good at planning and problems solving with a positive attitude
- Organised, responsible and reliable
- Happy to work outdoors in any kind of weather
- Works well in a team but is motivated to work independently
- Technical and mechanical skills are both essential
- Patient, flexible, able to deal well with adversity and embraces change
- Physically fit and prepared to work long hours
Agriculture is a very broad industry. You could be raising beef cattle or dairy cows, rearing sheep for wool, growing wheat or sugarcane, caring for a fruit orchard or producing vegetables.
You could have a hobby farm of just a few acres or run a station the size of a small country. So, as a Farmer your duties could vary significantly. We’ve put together a few tasks that represent some of the duties you might find yourself doing.
- Planning and coordinating your annual production requirements
- Undertake soil testing and preparation
- Select crops, seeds or livestock to purchase
- Nurture and raise animals, plant seeds, seedlings and bulbs
- Look after your water supply and provide the optimal nutrition and conditions to prevent disease
- Closely monitor the weather at all times
- Harvest your produce
- Carry out farm operations from purchasing, storing and packing goods, to organising sales and arranging transport
- Make sure that all farm buildings, equipment, fences and water supplies are well maintained
- Prepare and be ready to act in times of emergency such as drought, floods and fire
- Keep accurate and up to date records of everything including finances
- Understand your market, keep on top of trends and make accurate predictions
- Manage your money carefully
- Hire, train and supervise employees
Lifestyle Impact: High
- Part Time opportunities: Low – 22% of Farmers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). These are most likely to be hobby farmers, farm workers, or even Managers looking after a couple of properties.
- Average hours for full-time workers: 52 hours a week, which is above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- Farmers salary (average) $60,000* per year (Source: seek.com.au) *salaries vary between industries, your role, and depending on your skills and experience
- Future career growth: Stable (Source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Some areas have stronger growth rates than others, industry growth can also fluctuate due to changes in markets, economics, popularity, imports, weather conditions, etc.
- Working as a Farmer comes with a high level of responsibility and you’re also at the mercy of the weather and market conditions, as well as diseases and pests. You’ll be working long hours, many of the jobs may be physically demanding and are often repetitive. But if you love being outside and the thought of being your own boss is appealing this could be a very rewarding career.
Farmers are most in demand in these locations:
Over 320,600 people were employed in agriculture in 2020 (source: AISC) which makes it a huge industry. Most workers are employed in Queensland and South Australia (Source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au) but there are opportunities in every state.
Although technically if you own the property you can work from home, and some properties are very isolated in rural locations, it’s not the same as the remote working that lots of people imagine these days.
How to become a Farmer in Australia
To become a successful Farmer you’ll need to learn the practical, technical and theoretical knowledge that applies to the particular kind of farming you’re engaged in.
Formal qualifications aren’t essential, although a VET qualification as a minimum could be really useful. You will definitely need hands on, relevant, work experience.
Step 1 – Decide what type of farming you want to get into; you’ll need particular skills and specialised knowledge depending on which type of farming you’re passionate about.
Step 2 – Consider completing your high school certificate, Maths and STEM could be useful subjects, as well as business related subjects.
You could also consider a university degree, such as:
- Bachelor of Agriculture at CQ University
- Bachelor of Science majoring in Animal Science or Plant Agricultural Science at USQ
Many of the courses can also be completed online, so even if you’re living or working remotely you should be able to access them.
Step 3 – Get plenty of real life, hands-on, work experience.
Step 4 – Understand the market and keep up to date with changes in farming related practises, laws, products and trends.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to Farmer
Stock and Station Agent
Agricultural Sales Rep
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do Farmers do?
A farmer’s main aim is production, to create an income from selling their stock. You might be growing crops, raising livestock, poultry, fish, or shellfish, materials and fibres, or other agricultural products. Or you could be producing dairy products, ornamental plants or nursery products. Some Farmers raise both crops and livestock, as well as producing food for their animals.
Which industries employ Farmers?
Farmers work in agriculture (which is a really diverse field), forestry, fishing and hunting, aquaculture and more. Check out a few more industries here.
Do I need to go to university to become a Farmer?
No, you don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a Farmer. However, combined with work experience, qualifications could help you to gain the skills and knowledge you’ll need much faster.
If you’re thinking of applying for jobs as a Farm Manager, qualifications could help you to be a more competitive applicant.
Where do Farmers work?
Farmers can work in small holdings, stations, and large-scale farms, to orchards, nurseries and fisheries. They work in lots of other spaces as well but they primarily work outdoors. Some elements also require an office, such as keeping on top of records, researching, ordering in goods, arranging logistics etc.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Farmer?
If you’re at high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Farmer is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
- Get work experience, learn the basics about farming. This may also help you to decide which area to specialise in.
- Complete a few short courses or VET qualifications that could help you to develop the skills you’ll need even further.
- Work on your communication, planning and organisation, and adaptability skills.