**This is an updated post**
A life on the farm is varied and sometimes surprising. It's empowering to be self-sufficient, to create a system that not only supports you financially but is in harmony with the environment.
What’s it like to be a Farmer in Australia?
Being a Farmer is a lifestyle as much as it is a job. And it can be one of the most satisfying career choices for both men and women. In fact, farming is the driving force behind Australia’s agriculture industry.
As the name would suggest, Farmers are responsible for the work carried out on a farm. But as you’ll find out, there’s much more to it than the stereotypical ideal of ploughing fields and milking cows.
Read on to learn about how to become a farmer and the rewards (and challenges) of a life on the farm.
1. Decide what type of farming you want to get into
There are many different types of farming to consider. Some are more specialized than others and require different skills; while your range of duties will vary greatly depending on what type of farming you’re interested in.
Maybe you’re passionate about the environment, and want to create a healthy balance between nature and farming? A small percentage of Australia’s farms are organic, but there is growing demand from consumers for organic products. Which means there’s space to fill in this sector of the industry.
You can also work on a mixed farm which requires both livestock rearing and crop farming. As you grow your experience, you'll discover what you enjoy. Then, you’ll be able to combine your passion with what works best for business. Farm work in general is quite varied, so it certainly helps to be skilled in many different areas.?
2. Understand the responsibilities and demands
If you want to become a Farmer, you'll need to acquire the practical, technical and theoretical knowledge of farm work. Farming involves plenty of manual labour; when you first begin as a Farmhand and you'll be focusing your efforts on cleaning, machinery operations, livestock tending, and planting and harvesting crops.
You'll always be performing some sort of manual labour. Therefore physical strength and good overall health are essential. Working hours are dictated by the seasons. This means that during harvesting periods you may be working long hours.
Farmers work outdoors all year round, so you've got to be prepared for all weather conditions; from rain and wind to the searing sun.
And if you don’t mind (and perhaps enjoy) getting up at the crack of dawn to get right down to work, you will fit right into the Farmer lifestyle!
3. Plant the seed to grow your career
Whether you have some experience or none at all, the scope and range of work on a farm can be overwhelming. There's plenty to learn if you want to become a Farmer! Most farmers begin their careers as assistants or trainees before progressing into Farm Manager positions.
Taking farming courses is an excellent way to get up to speed and learn everything there is to know about farm work - from how to perform specific tasks to the business side of things.
A Certificate II in Agriculture will give you the fundamental skills to begin working on a farm. It’s perfect for those who need an introduction to the industry and haven’t found their feet yet. If you don't have any hands-on farm experience, you'll get it when you undertake the work placement which is essential to completing the course.
OC’s online agriculture course?will teach you broad skills relevant to the industry, but will also give you the option to specialise in livestock, crops or both. You’ll learn how to observe and report weather, repair property and machinery, keep records, identify unusual diseases in plants and livestock and operate irrigation systems—among other things.
4. Gain real experience
Nothing beats real life experience, so if you want to become a Farmer you've got to get yourself to a farm!
While OC’s course can teach you fundamental skills and will give you a head-start when you first begin working, hands-on experience is key. Once you do start working, however, there’ll be plenty of on-the-job training from your employer under supervision so you can find your feet.
As you progress through your career and gain experience, you’ll begin to look after the business and administrative side of things. This includes monitoring budgets, maintaining financial records, dealing with clients or suppliers and devising strategies for breeding or harvesting.?
Most importantly, you’ll ensure the farm complies with animal welfare laws, environmental laws and health and safety regulations.
What kind of personality do I need to become a Farmer?
Certain qualities set successful Farmers apart. Namely, a positive attitude and the ability to embrace change. Farmers have a capacity for hard work and thorough decision-making, they’re able to handle adversity and don’t mind working on their own or in a team.
Experienced Farmers are generally self-employed and might need to wear many hats, as their role will vary greatly over the course of their career. Remember, a Farmer’s job is more than just their livelihood - it’s their life, and it’s as far away as you can get from the average 9-5!
Being a Farmer definitely comes with its share of challenges. You’re often on call 24/7, and if an unexpected problem appears you need to be able to deal with it quickly and efficiently. And as many Aussies know, Farmers are often reliant on the weather for a successful season or not.
But there are also many upsides. There’s a real sense of community offered with the farming lifestyle, and there is also enjoyment from being independent and self-sufficient.
If you’re ready to begin an exciting, varied and dynamic career in agriculture, now’s the time to start.
Enrol with OC and launch your career in farming today.