What Does a Agricultural or Horticultural Operators Do?
Agriculture plays a vital role in the everyday lives of all Australians. Statistics show that every farmer in Australia produces enough food to feed around 600 people, with Aussie farmers producing almost 93 per cent of our country’s food supply. In addition to providing food for Australians, the agricultural industry earns around $32.2 billion in exports.
If you’d like to be part of this important industry, then read on to discover what qualifications you need to get your start.
What is Agriculture?
In its simplest definition, agriculture is the science of growing crops and raising livestock for human consumption or economic gain. However, agriculture is much more than simply farming. While it is a specialised field, the agricultural industry provides a range of job opportunities including farmers, scientists, managers, and business professionals.
Agriculture is not only concerned with the production of food, but also with environmental and economic sustainability. To be successful in the industry you will need to have a love for the land and environment, be able to adapt to change, great time management skills, good interpersonal skills, and be willing to embrace new technology. Some jobs in the industry (e.g. those working on farms) will involve physical labour and long hours.
What Qualifications do I Need?
With such a diverse industry, there are a range of agricultural courses available to suit varying experience and specialisation levels. To gain a pathway into farming start with the Certificate II in Agriculture. It will provide you with basic knowledge surrounding safe work and environmental practices, as well as selected industry areas such as livestock production, crop farming or mixed farming. This qualification will enable you to work as a farm assistant or station hand.
A Certificate III in Agriculture will allow you to develop your technical skills further and to learn skills in other areas that may include farming, machinery operation and maintenance, chemical use, irrigation and agribusiness. If you want to develop skills and knowledge to become a specialist within the agriculture industry, a Certificate IV in Agriculture is the way to go. You will be equipped to work as a team leader or supervisor in the industry.
If you plan to manage a farm or station, or be a sole operator of an agribusiness, the nationally recognised Diploma of Agriculture is essential. Developed by farm production experts, this course will teach you about cropping, agribusiness and selected skills. You may elect to study livestock production, workplace safety, organic production, using chemicals, machinery, and irrigation. This can be taken as an online agriculture course. Expected career outcomes include station manager, property manager, farm production manager, production unit manager or agronomist (soil and plant expert).
The Certificate IV in Agribusiness is one of many agribusiness courses you can undertake. It combines knowledge and skills from the areas of agribusiness, agriculture and horticulture. Typical learning outcomes include skills related to crop and livestock production, as well as merchandising, sales and business practices. A qualification will equip you to work as an assistant farm manager, specialist livestock production manager or owner/manager of small farm production.
For a more in-depth education in this important industry, you could choose a Bachelor of Agriculture. This agricultural science course produces knowledgeable graduates who are well-trained in the issues facing agriculture, yet can bring new ways of thinking and producing to the industry. You will learn about agriculture, producers, agribusiness and the environment and will be job-ready for a selection of positions that may include managing farms, agricultural research, or specialising in livestock production or irrigation. To further enhance your career, a Master of Agriculture and Environment will teach you how to tackle the larger issues at hand such as climate change, food security or environmental sustainability. This course will allow you to specialise in areas such as agricultural economics or agricultural technologies.
If you’re more interested in focusing on the relationships between primary producers, marketers, retailers and the end consumer, then a Bachelor of Agribusiness will set you up well. It will equip you for a business career in the agricultural industry where you may find yourself working in areas such as sales and marketing, supply chain management, agribusiness management, exporting, or policy development.
You can build upon this undergraduate degree with a Master of Agribusiness. This course is for agribusiness professionals who want to develop management skills; people who want a career in agribusiness; or agricultural/rural science or business graduates wanting to grow their careers. You will learn how to deliver more effective and profitable agribusiness outcomes for Australian producers and will gain a very high level of specialised knowledge. Of course, there are also a range of other short courses designed to improve and develop your skills such as farm management courses and TAFE environmental courses.
Where ill it take me?
Now is the perfect time to gain qualifications in agriculture, as the industry is booming. Currently, there are around five jobs available for every Australian agriculture graduate.
Job prospects in this industry are many and varied. What you focus on in your studies will determine which direction your career will go.
Agricultural careers can include farmers, farm or station managers, agricultural technicians, irrigation specialists, agronomists, or agricultural researchers, while agribusiness professionals could find themselves working with commodity traders, government agencies, agribusiness companies or company-run farms.
Here’s an idea of what you could earn in this exciting industry:
- Station Hand $37,937
- Crop Grower $41,600
- Livestock Farm Worker &46,705
- Agronomist $48,679
- Farm Manager $50,560
- Commodity Trader $87, 429
- Agribusiness Business Development Manager $98,000
If working with animals, land, crops or business excites you, start your career today and enrol in one of these great agricultural courses. You’re guaranteed to have a career that will make a difference to all Australians.