- Work on the practical, day-to-day running of a farm
- Can be varied, from working with heavy machinery to caring for animals and maintaining buildings
- Build experience to progress into farm management or running your own farm
Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on the type of farm and the time of year, but may include:
- Working with animals (transporting, milking, feeding, mucking out and caring for sick or newborn livestock)
- Ploughing fields
- Sowing seeds
- Spreading fertiliser
- Crop spraying and harvesting
- Operating farm machinery
- Maintaining and cleaning farm buildings and machinery
- Laying and trimming hedges
- Digging and maintaining ditches
- Erecting and mending fences
You'll be supervised by the farm owner or manager, and you may supervise casual staff.
Many farm workers are given free or low-rent accommodation on the farm or a lodging allowance. Overtime may also be available.
Farming is seasonal and the workload varies. You'll usually work at least 39 hours a week and be expected to work paid overtime when necessary. Early morning, evening and weekend work are all common.
Farm work can be dirty and dusty and it may not suit you if you suffer from allergies like hay fever.
You'll need practical skills and a willingness to work flexibly.
You do not need any particular qualifications to apply directly to become a farm worker but it helps to have an interest in farming and working outdoors. Experience of working on a farm, for example from a weekend or holiday job, dairy work or crop picking would be useful.
This is a physically active role, so you'll need a reasonable level of fitness. You'll usually need a driving licence.
You'll need to have a good level of fitness and you may need a driving licence for some jobs.
You could take a course at an agricultural college to prepare for work in this industry such as, a Level 1 Certificate in Practical Farm Animal Care Skills, Level 2 Extended Certificate in Agriculture or Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture. Courses combine theory and practical skills and include units on crop production, animal husbandry and operating farm machinery.
You can also get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in agriculture. You can also do a pack-house line leader advanced apprenticeship, if you're working on a farming food production line, for example picking and packing fruit and vegetables to order.
It may help to have some basic skills in mechanics.
With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or unit manager on a large farm. You may have to move between farms to gain experience and promotion. You could also become an agricultural contractor, supplying services to several farms, servicing machinery or working in agricultural equipment and supplies.