how to become a farmer

The agriculture industry is highly important to Australia. Farming is a crucial role within agriculture. A role in which you contribute to the welfare of the whole country. If you love to work outdoors, you are physically strong, and you also enjoy learning about production. Then, becoming a farmer could be an ideal career for you. Farmers work hard to produce food, fibres and other agricultural products. You might be an independent self-employed farmer working your own land. Or you may work on a farm on a contract, as a collective or for a corporation. The farmer oversee’s production. Depending on the size of the farm he may get stuck into practical tasks too.

There is not one fixed path into the agricultural world. Yet, to truly understand the technology behind production study is important. Farms come in all different sizes and produce a wide range of items, all of which need particular knowledge to be successful. 

Do you love the outdoors? You enjoy doing physical work? Do you like growing food, or raising animals? Does production fascinate you? Then, becoming a farmer could be the job for you. Keep reading because we have all the juicy details to share with you. Find out which courses you need to take, and how to break into the world of farming. 

Step one: Education, education, education

Even if you are an independent farmer or preparing yourself to take over the farm from family. You should not underestimate the importance of education. Modern processes and agriculture continually develop as new knowledge and methods emerge. Even if you know how to farm, you can always look for ways to improve productivity and increase profits. If you aren’t a landowner, then it is important to pursue education. This will help you break into farming, and land your first job. Education is not necessary to gain entry-level work in farming. However, to secure employment in managerial roles you need qualifications.

Step two: Look for your first job

After you have gained your qualifications you can begin to look for work. This is an exciting moment as you embark upon your career path. When applying for work make sure you tailor your resume and cover letter to include your qualifications, personal strengths and any experience you may have.

Step three: Consider a specialisation

In farming, you will find a considerable range of specialisations, and different career paths. Once you have a specialisation in mind you might need to complete further training. Consider the following as a small selection from the wide range of farming specialisations.

Shearer

If you enjoy working with animals and don’t mind a bit of sheep wrestling to keep you in good shape, you might enjoy becoming a sheep shearer. This is a specialised job and a practical skill you can learn. Demand is good in Australia because of a large number of sheep farms on the continent. All over the world, they recognise the quality of our wool.

Farmhand

Not everyone wants to take on the managerial responsibilities of the farmer. If you are the kind of person who prefers to get on with your work without having to consider the big picture all the time. Then, the role of a farmhand can suit you well. The farm hand follows the directions of the farmer and assists him with the practical tasks he needs to get on. Depending a little on the style of farm you work on, you could be cultivating crops or wrangling with livestock.

Production Horticulturist

For those of you who prefer to focus on plants, the role of a production horticulturist can be a good career progression for consideration. In the role, you take a scientific approach to your work. Your focus is putting into practice strategies which will increase production. Trying to improve yields, soil, and the quality of the produce you maximise profit potential for your farm.

Step four: Consider further training

Once you have a specialism in mind you may need to seek further training to gain the skills and knowledge you need. But, you may achieve the same by seeking progression with your employer, learning what you need to know on the job. 

The Farmers Duties

Farmers spend their time working on the land sowing, spraying, harvesting crops. Or they monitor their livestock, ensuring to provide food, water and any vaccinations they need. Farming comes in many different shapes and sizes. You can find huge commercial mono-cropping farms, mixed farms, rotational farms and organic farms. Farmers may grow produce or raise livestock. Sometimes they will do both. Farming is an important industry which faces particular challenges in the modern world. Increasingly farms are seeking ways to promote sustainability without losing production. Daily tasks might take you onto the fields to sow, spray, test the soil or harvest. You could find yourself wrangling with your livestock, checking their health, feeding them or moving them to different pastures. Budgeting is an important consideration for farmers and is critical to maintaining a profitable business. This means you must manage the costs, usually over a medium/ long term time scale.

Tasks

  • Overseeing farm operations
  • Implementing systems to increase production
  • Monitoring the well-being of livestock
  • Fertilising crops and applying pesticides
  • Performing soil checks
  • Harvesting crops and transporting livestock

Skills for Success

The life of a farmer is not for everyone. The early mornings, long days, and hard physical work knock many people out of the running. However, for people who like to keep busy, enjoy the outdoors, and are physically strong, the work will suit you well. You need to be tough, resilient, to take pride in your work, and have the confidence to work without supervision. Despite the specialised skills you need to do the work, you also need to have a broader skill set. You must effectively manage the finances of the farm and apply technical knowledge related to production. If you can handle the challenges of the job, the rewards of farming come back to you tenfold!

Skills and attributes

  • Physically fit
  • A logical, methodical problem solver
  • Confident around animals
  • Can work independently without supervision
  • Enjoy working in the outdoors.

What do Farmers earn in Australia?

In Australia, farmers earn a median wage of $59,303 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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