Open Colleges

The great outdoors: how to become a Farmhand

by Chloe Baird
Posted: October 27, 2020

  Return to blog home


What do you think of when you hear the word ‘farm’? Maybe your mind goes straight to Australia’s largest agricultural export, beef; or perhaps you think of our world-famous wineries; or maybe you imagine rolling fields of golden canola crops. 

Whatever your first thought is, there’s no denying the importance of Australia’s agricultural industry or the pride in which our Farmers have for their work. 

Australian Farm Land

Agriculture in Australia

Australia exports more agricultural products than we import. Australian products are well-known overseas for their quality, and they’re in high demand in countries like China, Japan and the United States. 

Did you know that the value of agriculture, fisheries and forestry production in Australia has increased by 19% in the past 20 years? Financially, this translates as an increase from $58 billion in 1999-2000 to $69 billion in 2018-2019.

Our biggest export is beef, followed by wheat, wool and alcohol. 

Why become a Farmhand? 

While a Farmhand’s job may not be as romantic as movies or TV shows make it out to be, there are a lot of pros. That’s not to say that there aren’t cons—a Farmhand’s job is physically demanding, and during years where there is extreme weather, things can get really tough. But being a Farmhand can be hugely rewarding for the right kind of person. Here are some of the benefits of becoming a Farmhand: 

1.  You get to work outdoors

You’re not tied to a desk all day or sitting in front of a computer screen, and you get to work with your hands. 

2. Every day will be different

No matter what type of farm work you’re doing, your work will change depending on the season. This is true whether you work with crops or animals. And there is always something that needs doing on a farm—everything from fixing a broken fence to mustering cattle. 

3. It’s a short commute

For some Farmhands, accommodation on the farm will come as part of your job, so you don’t need to worry about commuting every day to the office. 

4. You’ll enjoy fresh food

Working on a farm means that you’ll be surrounded by the best and freshest produce. And if there’s something your farm doesn’t produce, chances are one of your nearby neighbours’ farms does.

5.   You’ll be working in an essential Australian industry

There are other sectors of the economy that employ more people and contribute more to the GDP. But Australia’s agricultural industry is still a hugely important part of our economy, not to mention our cultural identity. 

6. You’ll get to meet interesting people

Whether these are your employers, your colleagues, neighbours or simply people who live in the same community, you’ll get the chance to meet all kinds of people who have taken up the farming lifestyle for a variety of different reasons.

Farmer on ATVWorking as a Farmhand, every day will bring something different. 

What is the job description of a Farmhand?

What does a Farmhand actually do? Well, depending on the kind of farm you’re working on, this could involve a range of different tasks and responsibilities. 

You’ll most likely be working with different types of machinery no matter what kind of farm you work on, and you’ll receive on-the-job training so that you’re familiar with everything that needs to be done. But depending on the crops or livestock you’ll be working with, your duties could include planting crops, harvesting crops, feeding and caring for livestock, cleaning and sterilising equipment, repairs and maintenance, shearing, mustering, and anything else that needs attention. 

According to PayScale, the average wage for a Farmhand in Australia is around $22 per hour. 

What skills do you need to be a good Farmhand?

Being a Farmhand is about more than just a set of skills. While an accredited qualification (such as a Certificate II or Certificate III in Agriculture) can help teach you the theory of agriculture, you’ll also need the right kind of personality to be a great Farmhand. 

Here are some of the characteristics of a great Farmhand employers will be looking out for:

  • You must enjoy practical work and not mind getting your hands (literally) dirty.
  • You need to be fit, as it can be a physically demanding job with unusual and sometimes long hours. 
  • You should be comfortable around animals. 
  • You should be equally happy working as part of a team or by yourself. Sometimes, farm work can be quite isolated. 
  • You should be ready to help out with whatever needs doing.

What qualifications do you need to work on a farm?

OC offers the AHC20116 Certificate II in Agriculture online. During this course, you’ll learn the foundational skills and knowledge needed to begin a career as an efficient Farmhand. 

While a formal qualification isn’t necessary to find work as a Farmhand, having a strong education to build on will help you in your career. More than likely, you’ll receive on-the-job training when you first begin work; but having a strong knowledge base to work from will give you a big head start.  

And in case you’re wondering how to complete an agricultural course online, you can read our blog article here: How to study a practical course online.

What are you waiting for? Get ready for a challenging, exciting, and unique career in the agricultural industry and enrol with OC today. 


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

Interested in online study?

See what it’s like with our 7 day free course trial.

Find out first-hand what it’s like to study with Open Colleges. Experience our world-class learning platform for yourself and discover how online learning can work for you. There are no obligations and no payment details required.

Start Today

Course areas