This article covers the following jobs:
- Agricultural Administrator
- Agricultural Adviser/Consultant
- Agricultural Engineer
- Agricultural Engineering Technician
- Agricultural/Garden Service Engineer
- Agricultural Research Scientist
- Farm Manager
- Farm Stockman/Woman
- Farm Worker
- Fish Farm Manager
- Fish Farm Worker
- Soil Scientist.
The job descriptions are only a brief summary. You should find out more about the jobs that interest you.
Video: - Various: Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry
Research and advice
Research is studying something, with the aim of finding out more about it. We need research to find out the facts, test and prove theories, and reach conclusions.
Agricultural research includes the study of soil, pests, diseases, crops and livestock, to produce crops and rear livestock effectively.
People who work in research aim to improve farming methods, and to pass on knowledge and advice to farmers.
Agricultural advisers/consultants give advice and support to farmers and others, such as landowners and conservation bodies, who are involved in agricultural issues. They provide advice and information on, for example:
- animal health and hygiene regulations
- the control of pests and diseases
- grants for land drainage
- preservation of agricultural land
- business planning and budgeting.
They might also write advice leaflets and technical manuals, go to agricultural shows, give presentations and organise conferences.
To enter this career, you'll usually need a degree in agriculture or a related subject.
Agricultural Research Scientist
Agricultural research scientists develop knowledge and test methods to improve agriculture.
They research to solve problems in planting, harvesting and cultivating crops, and investigate better ways to house, feed and care for livestock.
They explore issues such as pest control, animal and plant diseases, and the environmental impact of chemicals used in agriculture.
Research teams often include scientists from a wide range of backgrounds, including biological sciences, biochemistry and chemistry, animal and plant science, and agricultural science.
Entrants usually have a relevant degree. Postgraduate qualifications can be an advantage; you'll need them for some posts.
Soil scientists survey and map soils, and produce information on soil qualities and properties. They use their research to support the best use of available land.
Their work can be used in a variety of areas, such as agriculture, forestry, land recovery, waste disposal and civil engineering.
They find out about the qualities and properties of soil by examining sites, taking soil samples for laboratory analysis, and using computers to make maps and models.
The direct route into this career is a degree in soil science, or one that includes a substantial element of soil science. Another route is to take a relevant first degree (such as biology, chemistry, physics, physical geography, geology or environmental science) followed by a postgraduate qualification in soil science.
There are various careers in farming, at all levels. Farming covers work with livestock, fish or crops. Some farms have both animals and crops.
To start a job in farming, it's useful to have gained knowledge and skills through some practical work experience, for example, during school holidays or at weekends.
In farming, the hours can be long and irregular. You need to be physically fit and willing to work outdoors in all types of weather.
Agricultural administrators provide farmers with full and accurate information about the performance of their farm - both financial and physical. They are also known as farm secretaries or rural business administrators.
They are responsible for farm accounting, dealing with cash flows and budgets, cost analysis and record keeping. They need a sound understanding of agricultural and taxation regulations.
Administrators help farmers to make well-informed decisions about which crops, livestock or equipment to introduce in the future, for example, based on their analysis of cropping records.
You will need a recognised book-keeping qualification and relevant farming knowledge to become an Associate member of the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA).
Farm managers are responsible for the smooth running of farms, and for all the staff, activities and resources involved in this. They meet the needs of, and report to, the owner of the farm.
The work involves planning budgets, keeping records, managing farm workers, dealing with technical issues, and making decisions about buying and selling.
To become a farm manager, you'll usually need a degree, foundation degree or HND in agriculture or a related subject. You'll also usually need to have developed skills and knowledge through practical farming experience.
Farm workers carry out the general duties involved in running a farm.
Workers employed on livestock farms specialise in the rearing and care of animals. They have duties such as watering and feeding animals, cleaning out pens, herding animals to different fields or into milking parlours, and keeping careful records.
Some farms mix arable and livestock farming. Duties include driving tractors, using machinery and farm equipment, and repairing farm buildings.
Farm workers need to be physically fit. They work long hours that vary according to the season.
You don't usually need any qualifications to become a farm worker. However, some GCSEs would be useful. There are a number of full- and part-time college courses, as well as work-based qualifications.
Fish Farm Manager
Fish farm managers supervise the breeding and rearing of fish for food, sport and ornamental pools. They manage the whole process, from hatching fish eggs to harvesting the fish for sale.
Depending on the size of the farm and the number of staff there, managers might be involved in practical tasks such as feeding fish, cleaning ponds and tanks, and checking for disease and pollution.
Managers make careful plans, including setting and monitoring budgets. They are in charge of staff recruitment and training, book-keeping, ordering stock and equipment, negotiating contracts and making distribution arrangements.
To become a fish farm manager, you'll usually need a relevant degree, foundation degree or HND. Evidence of skills and knowledge gained in relevant work experience is also important.
It's possible for fish farm workers to work their way up into management posts.
Fish Farm Worker
Fish farm workers rear fish for food, ornamental pools, and the restocking of lakes and rivers for angling.
Duties include feeding the fish, inspecting them, cleaning tanks and repairing equipment. Fish farm workers need to be physically fit and willing to work outdoors in all types of weather.
You don't need any qualifications to enter but GCSEs in sciences and practical subjects would be useful. Full- and part-time college courses are available.
Stockmen/women are responsible for the health and welfare of livestock, which is mainly cattle, pigs and sheep. Their tasks include:
- monitoring the condition of the animals
- nursing sick animals
- keeping buildings clean and tidy
- looking after pregnant animals.
Stockmen/women are present when animals give birth and they tend to the offspring. Dairy stockmen/women are also responsible for milking.
They work long and irregular hours, usually on their own.
You don't usually need any qualifications to become a farm stockman/woman. However, some GCSEs would be useful. There are a number of full- and part-time college courses, as well as work-based qualifications.
Agriculture is a high-tech industry and relies on the use of some sophisticated machinery and equipment. Designing, manufacturing, testing, improving, installing and maintaining this equipment is the job of agricultural engineers, engineering technicians and service engineers.
Agricultural engineers design, produce, install and manage agricultural machinery, buildings, vehicles and drainage systems. As well as agriculture, they also work in horticulture and forestry.
Agricultural engineers who work in manufacturing design and develop equipment, for example, to help farmers cultivate, drain and irrigate soil, or to spray and sow crops.
Agricultural engineers might be involved in farm organisation. They design the layout of buildings, such as crop dryers and greenhouses.
They could also be responsible for the management of rural land, and for planning the most efficient use of soil and water.
All over the world, there is a great need for engineers who can introduce methods to irrigate land, reduce crop failure and increase yields, while taking into account the need to protect the environment.
The usual requirement for this career is a relevant degree or HND, such as agricultural engineering.
Agricultural Engineering Technician
Agricultural engineering technicians support the work of engineers in a wide variety of areas, including:
- Developing and testing new products for the farming industry.
- Service engineering to repair and maintain equipment.
- Technical sales.
Entry to a trainee technician position is usually with at least four GCSEs (A*-C) including English, Maths and a science, technology or engineering subject.
Agricultural/Garden Service Engineer
Agricultural/garden service engineers maintain and repair agricultural and garden machinery. They work on machinery that is used to cut crops, bale hay, plant seeds or plough fields.
They use their technical skills and knowledge to diagnose and repair faults. For example, they may have to take an engine apart, replace broken or worn parts, and then put the machine back together.
There is no formal academic entry requirement. However, many employers or training providers prefer applicants to have at least four GCSEs, including English, Maths and a science, technology or engineering subject.
Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM)
Address: PO Box 679, Hull HU5 9AX
Tel: 0845 3887012
Skills for land-based and environmental industries
Address: Lantra House, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Tel: 02476 696996
Address: Pendeford House, Pendeford Business Park, Wobaston Road, Pendeford, Wolverhampton WV9 5AP
Tel: 0845 7660085
Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA)
Address: The Studio @ The Mill, Mill Lane, Little Shrewley, Warwickshire CV35 7HN
Tel: 01926 485543
Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE)
Address: The Bullock Building (Bldg 53), University Way, Cranfield, Bedford MK43 0GH
Tel: 01234 750876
Farm Office Handbook
Publisher: Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators (IAgSA)
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
Address: Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3SY
Tel: 01982 553 683
Address: South Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol, BS1 3NX
Tel: 0117 314 5000