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How to become a farmer in Australia: careers in agriculture

A farmer oversees and manages all of the operations that are carried out on a farm. Farmers will have different daily duties to perform, depending on the scale of the property they manage and the type of crops or livestock they produce, with the overall aim being to successfully produce food, fibres and other agricultural products. They tend to be self-employed managing their own land or work on a contract for a farm, corporation or collective.
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Being a farmer: daily duties

The daily duties of a farmer will vary depending on the type of farm they work on and what their farm produces. In general, they are responsible for sowing and harvesting crops and monitoring the wellbeing of livestock. This can include animal wrangling, soil monitoring, animal health checks, planting crops and trees, maintaining budgets, fertilising and spraying crops, performing harvest duties, maintaining and repairing farm equipment such as machinery and fences.

Tasks:

  • Overseeing farm operations
  • Sowing and harvesting crops
  • Monitoring animal wellbeing
  • Transport stock
  • Fertilise crops and perform soil checks

Being a farmer: skills for success

Farming is considered to be a difficult but rewarding career. It requires a personality that is able to cope with challenging problems posed by financial, logistical and environmental fluctuations. A good degree of physical fitness is also needed to be successful in this role, as well as the ability to work outside in all weather conditions.
Skills/attributes
  • Physical fitness
  • Logic and problem solving skills
  • Confident with animals
  • Able to work independently
  • Enjoys outdoor work

Specialised roles within agriculture

The agriculture industry offers a variety of career specialisations that you can pursue depending on your skills, interests and personal career goals.
  • Shearer
    Shearers specialise in harvesting wool from sheep. They work in tough physical conditions, restraining sheep to remove wool to be processed and sold.
  • Farm hand
    A farm hand provides assistance to senior farmers and graziers. Their roles will vary depending on the type of property they work on, but they can be involved in crop cultivation or livestock wrangling and assist farmers in their daily duties.
  • Production horticulturalist
    A production horticulturalist is a farmer who works specifically with the cultivation of nuts, vegetables and fruit products. They implement strategies to encourage the growth of these crops for sale in bulk.

Educational pathways for farmers

There are a number of different pathways you can take to pursue a career in agriculture.
  • Start your career
    Build your knowledge of agricultural practises by choosing one of these courses.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Develop your credentials and maximise your strengths and interests with targeted study options.
  • Build your resume
    Get a solid understanding of the logistical and financial requirements needed for successful farm operations.
  • Industry requirements
    There is no formal training needed to enter the agriculture industry, however to be a desirable candidate for senior or managerial roles, formal study is your best option.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your agriculture career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Farming job prospects and salaries will vary depending on your specialisation as a farmer.

Resources for farmers

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