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A day in the life of a Farm Hand

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: April 26, 2020

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Are you interested in agriculture, growing crops, and working with animals? Do you love being hands-on and working outside? A career as a Farm Hand could be a good fit for you.

Being a Farm Hand requires a lot of hard work, working outside in all weather conditions and long hours (including early starts). Your day-to-day routine can vary hugely, particularly with the seasons. It can be a tremendously rewarding role though, especially as you get to see first-hand the results of your labour. You can also get to work with a fantastic team of people, with many farms in Australia being family owned and operated.

What is your career outlook?

The job outlook for a Farm Hand is encouraging. According to Job Outlook, it is a small occupation, but the number of people working in this area grew very strongly over the last five years. The levels are expected to stay the same for the next five years too, offering around 600 jobs each year. These jobs can be found across Australia, with Western Australia and South Australia having the largest share of workers.

Farm Hand work hours can be long, with full-time workers spending around 47 hours per week working, compared to the ‘all job’ average of 44 hours.

Are you wondering what you could get paid as a Farm Hand? The average Farm Hand salary, according to PayScale, is AU$46,633. You can expect an hourly rate of AU$21.64. This can vary depending on your level of experience and your day-to-day responsibilities.

What does a typical workday look like?

As a Farm Hand, every day will be unique, and your duties will vary with the seasons. Your role will also vary depending on the farm you work at too. Some farms only grow crops, or have livestock, whereas some have a combination of the two. Also, some farms are fully modernised, with machines carrying out a vast range of tasks, while others still use very traditional farming methods. 

Regardless of the farm you work at, you’ll have plenty to do to keep you busy. Here are a few of the tasks that you can expect to carry out:

  • Make sure livestock are fed and have water
  • Assist with the overall care of livestock
  • Gather and move livestock (i.e. for milking or sheering)
  • Prepare land for crops
  • Harvest some crops by hand
  • Operate farm machinery (i.e. to plough fields or to fertilise crops)
  • Transport crops and livestock (i.e. to markets/buyers)
  • Maintain farm buildings, boundaries, and machinery

What skills do you need as a Farm Hand?

You’ll need several key skills to work as a Farm Hand. As you’ll be asked to carry out many different tasks each day, active listening is critical. To ensure you get everything done, you’ll need to be good at time management and organisation. You also need to have practical skills that can help get your jobs completed, and you may need to be physically strong for some tasks. As you move around the farm, you’ll need to be observant, to notice machinery not working, gaps in fences, or anything out of the ordinary.

What qualifications do you need to work on a farm?

You can find Farm Hand positions online or consider contacting some local farms near you. No formal qualifications are required, but having some training can be valuable. Understanding the fundamentals of agriculture can help you stand out from other candidates applying for the same role, and it can help you progress further in your career.

Open Colleges’ AHC20116 Certificate II in Agriculture is a nationally recognised course that will prepare you for working on a farm. It covers topics including observing and reporting on the weather, understanding health and safety processes, repairing fencing, handling livestock, how to troubleshoot irrigation systems and much more. You’ll also have an opportunity to put your knowledge into practice through a series of valuable workplace projects.

 

Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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