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How to Become a Farmer in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

How to Become a Farmer in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

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/ How to Become a Farmer in Australia - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

Thinking of a Career as a Farmer? 

Whether you work with crops or livestock, being a Farmer is a hands-on job that will have you planning, organising, coordinating and performing operations across a variety of fields – perhaps literally! Knowledge and skills in agriculture farming could take you anywhere, so if you’re a practical person who wants to do something concrete and useful, and who doesn’t want to be stuck in an office all day, this could be an excellent and flexible career choice.

Farmer Careers & Job Outlook

The graph shows employment levels in agriculture related jobs (thousands) for the period spanning from 2008 and predicts the trend for jobs in farming as we move towards 2023.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data and Department of Employment projections to 2023.

While jobs in farming are changing over time, Farming is still a large occupation – with farm employment keeping almost 30,200 people in work at the latest census count. This means that it is possible to find jobs on farms in most regions. 

As the graph shows, the level of work available for Farmers has remained relatively steady in the last couple of years, and is not predicted to drop off markedly in the near future.

Farmer Salary Information

There is a strong link between higher farming salaries and level of experience when it comes to jobs in agriculture, with Farmers late in their career – that is, with 20 or more years of experience – looking to earn almost 30 per cent more than those who haven’t been working the land for quite so long.

It seems that when it comes to farming jobs, experience and perseverance have their financial rewards. So there’s incentive for you to start preparing the foundations for your career in agriculture straight away!

Hours of Work

 For those in agriculture related jobs, working full-time is quite demanding, with average weekly hours sitting at 58.9 (compared to 40.0 for all occupations).

Unemployment for Farmers is below average, which indicates that there’s always work to be done for anyone in a farm job – plenty of opportunities to make hay  while the sun still shines! Research your local area for opportunities. 

Farmer Age Profile

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

This graph shows the share of employment in percentage by age profile compared to all other occupations. Interestingly, farming is a profession that tends to maintain its attraction for more mature workers, and the average age for a Farmer sits at 55 years. While the bulk of farm workers could be considered mid-career in terms of age, jobs in agriculture appear to also maintain their attractiveness for older workers. 26.8 % of agriculture related jobs are held by people 65 years or older.

These statistics indicate that being more mature in years is not perceived as a bar to a successful career in farming.

Farmer Education Levels

Over half of all those in farm jobs join the workforce having finished finish Year 11 or 12. Many people with careers in farming have built on their knowledge and capabilities by completing a Certificate III or Advanced Diploma in the field. No Exact data is available for education details of this profession, as it can be a very broad range. 

Trends & Recent Changes in the Farming & Agriculture Industry

The latest research from the government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and CSIRO indicates that there are several important megatrends that are set to impact hugely on Australian agricultural industries in the next 15-20 years.

For a start, by 2050 world population growth will mean that we’ll require 60-70% more food than what we currently produce. Meanwhile, rising wealth in developing economies is predicted to drive demand for more and diverse foods, while more informed consumers means higher expectations when it comes to healthy, green and ethical food products.

Advances in science and technology also mean that farmers can improve their methods of production, just as production itself becomes more easily monitored and open to scrutiny.

Essentially, the face of farming is set to change in Australia and throughout the world. It’s an exciting time to jump on board to see what changing markets, science and technology and new global demand will bring to jobs in farming.


Interview with an Organic Farmer

Organic agriculture farming interview

Jimmy Devendell

Organic Farmer, Shire of Katanning, WA

What do you do in your role as a Organic Farmer?

I oversee the day-to-day professional activities on my organic farm. I look after our livestock, tend to crops, purchase stock, write reports and manage my staff members.I also deal with suppliers and look for new markets for my produce. 

How much do you like your job?

Working as a Farmer is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. I really value my contribution to the Australian market and I am 100% passionate about what I do, and the importance of locally-grown food and produce. 

How did you begin your career as a Organic Farmer?

I always had an interest in organic food and once i left school, I decided to gain a formal qualification in farming so that I could approach existing organic farms. There is much more to farming than most people realise. There is a significant amount of monitoring and maintaining the health and condition of livestock and crops as well as selecting and purchasing new stock and considering business contracts. 

Have you learned any lessons along the way?

I have learned that it's really important for Farmers to gain the relevant experience they need before embarking on a career. Gaining an entry-level job, or even volunteer or interning, can be a great way to see if this career path is right for you. Formal qualifications are also a great idea as the industry continues to become more competitive. 

What time to you begin work?

I wake up every morning at 5-5:30 am and I am usually at work before 7am. However, this does vary by season and depending on what needs to be done. I also have several staff members but not all of them work every day of the year. It just depends on what we need. 

Thanks Jimmy, for sharing your career history with us!


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